Robert Bunsen, German Chemist, late 19th century.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Robert Bunsen, German Chemist, late 19th century.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Robert Bunsen (1811-1899), ROBERT WILHELM BUNSEN (1811-1899) who pioneered spectrum analysis with Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824-1887). This led to the invention of the Bunsen-Kirchhoff spectroscope and the discovery of new elements. Bunsen himself discovered rubidium and caesium. He was a pioneer in photochemistry, invented the filter pump, and an actinometer with Sir Henry Roscoe (1833-1915). He did not invent the Bunsen burner, (probably devised by his technician), but improved its design. Toxic and flammable cacodyl compounds caused him to lose the sight of one eye and nearly die of arsenic poisoning, to which he discovered the antidote.

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