Robert BunsenBy: adithis794
Who is he:
  • Renowned German Chemist
  • Lived from 1811 to 1899Robert Bunsen pic.jpg
Who is a Chemist:
AMS- Gottingen Germany.jpg
Gottingen, Germany. The place where Robert Bunsen was born.

  • Someone who studies the matter of an object
  • Figures out what properties make up the object
  • Figures how the properties of an object affect its use, looks, actions, and reactions.
What is he known for:
  • Invented the Bunsen Burner – He actually modified the burner made by Michael Faraday. The Bunsen Burner is a gas burner created to not waste as much heat as blast furnaces do. The Bunsen Burner is used in many science labs to generate heat and for sterilization.
  • Invented the Blow Torch Used for metal works
  • Invented the Bunsen Cell - Battery made of carbon, zinc, and sulfuric acid. When burned it produces a bright light. This is used in the photographic flashbulb.
  • Pioneered the field of spectrum analysis with another scientist Gustav Kirchoff. He noticed that each element when heated produces a light with a specific wavelength. Spectrum analysis assumed great importance in the study of the sun and stars as it helped in finding the chemicals/elements in it.
  • Discovered two new elements, Cesium and Rubidium using the spectrum analysis method.
  • Developed an antidote (something that reverses) arsenic poisoning – He found out that iron oxide hydrate is an antidote for arsenic poisoning and this is still being used today
His Career:
  • He received his doctorate degree from the University of Gottingen in 1830
  • He worked as a professor of Chemistry in the Polytechnic School of Kassel (1836) and in the University of Marburg (1841- 1852), Germany
  • 1836-1842 - His initial research was all in organic chemistry (the study of the structure, properties, and the reaction of matter in various forms that contain carbon atoms) but gave up research in this area because of an accident in his eye caused during a lab explosion and moved on to analytical and inorganic chemistry.
  • 1841 – Invented the Bunsen Cell
  • 1852 – Begins teaching at the University of Heidelberg and worked here for 40 years
  • 1855 – Announced the invention of the Bunsen Burner
  • 1859 – Along with Gustav Robert Kirchoff, significantly developed the science of Spectroscopy (Study of the interaction of matter and heat energy)

  • 1870 – Invented the Ice Calorimeter( Measures the heat of chemical reactions and physical changes)­­

Interesting Facts:
  • He is a recipient of multiple awards including the Copley medal from the Royal Society of London in 1860, the first Davy medal with Kirchoff in 1887 and the Albert medal in 1898.
  • Mentored many famous scientists, three of whom are Nobel Prize winners.
  • After he retired he started to study geology and mineralogy

AMS Adithi - Bunsen Burner Diagram.jpg


American Council of Learned Societies, ed. Dictionary of Scientific Biographies. Vol. 1. New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1970. Print.

John Daintith, ed. The Grolier Library of Scientific Biographies. Vol. 2. Danbury: Grolier, 1997. Print.

"Robert Wilhelm Bunsen." Britannica School.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <>.

Todd Helmenstine. "Robert Bunsen.", 2013. Web. 19 Sep. 2013.

Wikipedia contributors. "Robert Bunsen." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 Sep. 2013. Web. 19 Sep. 2013.