Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm

Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm

(bŭn`sən, Ger. rō`bĕrt vĭl`hĕlm bo͝on`zən), 1811–99, German scientist, educated at the Univ. of Göttingen, where he received his doctorate in 1830. He served on the faculties of several universities and was at Heidelberg from 1852 to 1889. His first important contribution to chemistry came with his investigation of certain organic compounds of arsenic, in the process of which he discovered that ferric oxide could be used as an antidote to arsenic poisoning. From his studies of the gaseous products of blast furnaces he evolved a method of gas analysis, presented in his book Gasometrische Methoden (1857). With Kirchhoff at Heidelberg he discovered by spectroscopy the elements cesium and rubidium. Bunsen wrote many articles and collaborated with Kirchhoff on Chemische Analyse durch Spektralbeobachtungen (1860). His important contributions to petrology and chemicogeology include the explanation of geysergeyser
[Icel.], hot spring from which water and steam are ejected periodically to heights ranging from a few to several hundred feet. Notable geysers are found in Iceland, New Zealand, and W United States, which are areas of recent volcanic activity.
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 action. He invented and improved various kinds of laboratory equipment, including the Bunsen cell, the Bunsen photometer (see photometryphotometry
, branch of physics dealing with the measurement of the intensity of a source of light, such as an electric lamp, and with the intensity of light such a source may cast on a surface area.
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), and the Bunsen burnerBunsen burner,
gas burner, commonly used in scientific laboratories, consisting essentially of a hollow tube which is fitted vertically around the flame and which has an opening at the base to admit air. A smokeless, nonluminous flame of high temperature is produced.
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