Happy birthday, Herr Bunsen

If you use Google today, you will see that the heading image is a collection of laboratory items made to spell out the word Google (though if you didn’t know that, you might be struggling to see it). This is to celebrate the 200th birthday of Robert Bunsen, the German chemist of the 1800s whose name is forever linked to the burner. He didn’t actually invent the device – he asked his laboratory technician to build it – but he did invent the flame spectrometer with another famous German chemist – Gustav Kirchhoff. This helped Bunsen to discover the elements cesium and rubidium, which allowed Richard Hammond to blow up bathtubs with them 150 years later (see Youtube video in the post below).

When I went to find out more about his life and works on Wikipedia, I found that some moron had hacked the Bunsen page, and it was out of action, but it is now restored.

And there is a connection between Bunsen and us here in CFFET beyond the recurring use of the burner: his March 31 birthday is shared with one of your chemistry teachers (though not the 1811 part of it) Coincidence??? I think so.

This entry was posted in Curiosity corner.