Science's Hottest Flame: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Robert Bunsen
The Bunsen burner is an iconic laboratory device used to create a flame for heating, sterilizing, and combustion reactions. It was invented by German chemist Robert Bunsen in 1854, and has since become a staple of science classrooms and laboratories around the world. In this post, we'll briefly explore the history of the Bunsen burner and share 5 interesting facts about Robert Bunsen that you probably didn't know! Robert Bunsen was a chemist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany who was searching for a more reliable and
efficient method for creating a flame in the laboratory. At the time, the most common method for creating a flame was to heat a platinum wire until it glowed red-hot, which was expensive and not very efficient. Bunsen wanted a way to produce a hotter, more controllable flame, and he eventually came up with the design for the Bunsen burner. The Bunsen burner consists of a metal tube with an adjustable air intake and a gas valve. When the gas valve is turned on and the air intake is adjusted, a mixture of gas and air flows through the tube and is ignited at the top of the burner, creating a blue flame. The design of the burner allows for a more efficient and controllable flame, making it ideal for a wide range of laboratory applications. The Bunsen burner quickly became popular among chemists and scientists around the world, and it has since become a symbol of science and laboratory work. In fact, March 31th has been designated as Bunsen Day, a day to celebrate the contributions of Robert Bunsen to science and to honor the
Bunsen burner. On this day, science enthusiasts and students alike take the opportunity to conduct experiments, explore the wonders of science, and pay tribute to the Bunsen burner. The Bunsen burner has played a significant role in the history of science and continues to be an important tool in laboratories and classrooms around the world. Its simple yet effective design has made it an indispensable part of chemistry and other sciences, and its legacy lives on through Bunsen Day and the ongoing pursuit of scientific discovery.
Here are 5 interesting facts about Robert Bunsen that you probably didn't know:
- Bunsen invented the Bunsen burner in 1855 while he was working as a professor of chemistry at the University of Heidelberg. The burner was designed to produce a hot, clean, and non-luminous flame, making it ideal for use in laboratory experiments.
- Bunsen was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy, which is the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation. In collaboration with physicist Gustav Kirchhoff, he developed the Bunsen-Kirchhoff law, which explains the relationship between the colors of light emitted by a heated material and its chemical composition.
- In addition to his scientific work, Bunsen was a talented musician who played several instruments, including the flute, piano, and organ. He even composed his own music, including a piece for four flutes that was performed at the International Exhibition in London in 1862.
- Bunsen suffered from poor eyesight for much of his life, which made it difficult for him to conduct experiments and write papers. To compensate, he developed a system of raised type that allowed him to read and write without straining his eyes.
- Bunsen was a mentor to several prominent scientists, including Henry Enfield Roscoe, who went on to become a noted chemist and educator in his own right. Roscoe would later establish a fund to support the research of younger chemists, in honor of his mentor's legacy.