ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (1811-1899), German chemist. Bunsen was born in Goettingen, son of the university's chief librarian. Bunsen studied chemistry from an early age, and became at lecturer at Goettingen. His studies of arsenous acid led to arsenic poisoning (but also the discovery of iron oxide hydrate as a precipitating agent and antidote), and his investigations of cacodyl derivatives led to an explosion in which he lost the sight in his right eye. Later Bunsen taught at Kassel, invented an improved version of Grove's electrochemical cell and used electrolyisis to purify many metals. After working with Roscoe for some time, he later collaborated with Kirchoff and helped found the technique of spectral analysis. To get a clean, hot flame for this work Bunsen and his assistant developed an improved gas burner, now familiar as the Bunsen Burner.
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