Bunsen, Robert (Wilhelm)


Bunsen, Robert (Wilhelm)

biographical name

(born March 31, 1811, Göttingen, Westphalia—died Aug. 16, 1899, Heidelberg, Baden) German chemist. With Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, he observed (c. 1859) that each element emits light of a characteristic wavelength, opening the field of spectrochemical analysis. They discovered several new elements (including helium, cesium, and rubidium) by spectroscopy. His only book discussed methods of measuring volumes of gases. He invented the carbon-zinc battery, grease-spot photometer (see photometry), filter pump, ice calorimeter, and vapour calorimeter. Though often credited with inventing the Bunsen burner, he seems to have made only a minor contribution to its development.

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