It’s Bunsen Burner Day!

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Public domain image

Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen, the brilliant photochemist who developed the laboratory burner that is named after him, was born on this day, March 31, in 1811 in Göttingen, Germany.

In collaboration with Peter Desaga, his assistant at the University of Heidelberg, Robert Bunsen made his eponymous burner in 1854 as an improvement over the inefficient lab burners of his day.

Using a mixture of air and a fuel gas like LPG. methane, propane or butane, the Bunsen burner can produce an intensely hot flame that is ideally suited for a variety of experiments that require that kind of heat.

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Public domain image

Peter Desaga and his descendants held the sole marketing rights for the Bunsen burner for several years.

A highly respected scientist, beloved teacher and a thorough gentleman, Robert Bunsen never took out a patent for any of his inventions.

Even after his official retirement at the age of 78, Bunsen continued to work in geology and mineralogy, right until his death at 88.

And he was single (like me). Which is perhaps why he was one of the most productive German scientists of his time!

 

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