200th birthday of schoolkid pyromania

Hole is open. Blue flame. Hole is closed. Orange flame. Hole is closed, then opened quickly. Orange flame shoots up into the air!

Sterilise the loop...

That’s right, folks. Robert Bunsen, after which the ubiquitous Bunsen burner is named, was born 200 years ago on this day. While he didn’t invent the burner, he made improvements to it and managed to take credit. He’d probably do quite well for himself these days.

In seriousness, though, Bunsen was a good scientist. He worked in the best field (chemistry) and developed spectroscopy to a point where he could discover new elements through their characteristic emission spectra. He also focused on fundamental research such as accurately determining the atomic mass of different elements, along with their properties. The theories he put into practice are still widespread almost two centuries later.

Anyway, there’s plenty more information out there about Bunsen if you want to go find it. He’s an interesting fellow: for example, he nearly poisoned himself to death with arsenic, and a laboratory explosion damaged his eye. Despite his colourful character and research history, though, he’ll live on mainly through the Bunsen burner. Almost everyone has a story of a school laboratory experiment going awry, often involving fire or explosions; what’s yours?

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Categories: Science | Tags: | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “200th birthday of schoolkid pyromania

  1. bengood4000

    Check out today’s Google Doodle. It’s awesome!

  2. Very nice! I thought he invented the burner.

    I was always too scared to work with fire in my chemistry lab at school. Especially during salt analysis. You’d think it was one salt but it would turn out to be another, often reacting badly to being treated with fire. So.. Why take chances? All I did was smell/look at the salt and sometimes pour a bit of dil. HCl and take a wild guess. No fire. No sir! :P

    Ashwini

  3. Nice photo! My chemistry days are but a distant and foggy memory.

  4. magnificent issues altogether, you simply received a brand new reader. What would you suggest about your publish that you just made some days ago? Any positive?

  5. Gran trabajo .. Gracias

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