Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy 200th Birthday, Robert Bunsen!

Today is Robert Bunsen's 200th birthday. Even Google has developed an interactive doodle that allows you to change the height of the bunsen burner flame depending on where you place your mouse on the search engine's main page! To celebrate, here are the 10 things you need to know about this German chemist:

1. Robert Bunsen was one of the most admired scientists of his generation. He lived to the age of 88.

2. The German chemist developed the bunsen burner in 1855.

3. He never took out a patent on the burner, on a point of principle.

4. Bunsen once almost died of arsenic poisoning during his research.

5. He lost an eye in a laboratory explosion (not sure if his burner was involved!).

6. In 1860 he discovered a new element 'caesium'and a year later he found 'rubidium'.

7. He loved teaching.

8. He retired at the age of 78.

9. Bunsen never married.

10. His grave is in Heidelberg, Germany.

For a more in-depth review of Robert Bunsen and his invention, please visit Tim Sandle's blog at


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