We would like to wish Robert Bunsen a happy 200th birthday today! Nearly everyone who has set foot in a chemistry lab has seen a variation of the burner that carries his name, but did you know he was blind in one eye from a laboratory accident where glassware shattered during an experiment?
Bunsen created his eponymous and simple heating system with assistant Peter Desaga in 1854 and 1855 while working at Heidelberg University.
At that time, Heidelberg was getting gas lights, and the simple burner created to power gas lights inspired Bunsen to create a simple, easy system for heating experiments. Thus, the gas-fired burner was born. Amazingly, Dr. Bunsen made absolutely no money off of his invention, as he didn’t patent it. Imagine how much money he let slip from his fingers, given that the Bunsen burner is in every single high school classroom in the entire world.
Still, Bunsen did something right, because the Bunsen burner has been in continuous use for over 155 years, give or take.
You can read more about this remarkable chemist in a short biography by clicking here:
Historical Science Icon, Robert Bunsen’s Biography
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