Robert Bunsen

Robert Wilhelm Eberhard (30 March 1811 – 16 August 1899) was a German chemist. He investigated emission spectra of heated elements, and with Gustav Kirchhoff discovered caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861). Bunsen developed several gas-analytical methods, was a pioneer in photochemistry, and did early work in the field of organoarsenic chemistry. With his laboratory assistant, Peter Desaga, he developed the Bunsen burner, an improvement on the laboratory burners then in use. The Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award for spectroscopy is named after Bunsen and Kirchhoff. Bunsen was born in Göttingen, Germany, the youngest of four sons of the University of Göttingen’s chief librarian and professor of modern philology, Christian Bunsen (1770–1837).[2] After attending school in Holzminden, in 1828 Bunsen matriculated at Göttingen and studied chemistry with Friedrich Stromeyer, obtaining the Ph.D. degree in 1831. In 1832 and 1833 he traveled in Germany, France, and Austria, where he met Friedrich Runge (who discovered aniline and in 1819 isolated caffeine), Justus von Liebig in Gießen, and Eilhard Mitscherlich in Bonn.

According to Anthony Harwicke on the PSCI-COM discussion list, the midwive present at Bunsen’s birth reported he was 200 grams and “his air hole was closed” ;-)

NIce to Google celebrating today today with a nice animated doodle. Visit the Google homepage to see it today, and thereafter it will be in their doodle archive. Incidentally, Bunsen invented the eponymous, improved flame burner as a way of making coffee in the laboratory.


  • My hero: Robert Bunsen (Chemistry World blog) (
  • Top 5 Scientists of Chemistry Killed or Injured by their Experiments (
  • CESIUM or CAESIUM: Meet the “BIGGEST” threat to Japan due to the Great Quake in Japan. This could turn even more tragic. 200,000 Evacuated from immediate “danger” areas. (


  1. Alan Crooks

    I wasn’t aware of the Google doodle archive – although I guessed that one should probably exist. Thanks for that :-)