16 August 1899 - Death of Robert Bunsen, co-discoverer of cesium and rubidium

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, son of Christian Bunsen, a librarian and professor of literature, and Melanie Heldberg, who came from a family of librarians, was born in Göttingen, Germany, on 30 March 1811.

After graduating in his hometown, he continued his studies in chemistry in Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, thanks to a scholarship granted by the state government of Göttingen.

In 1833 he took up a position at the University of Göttingen. He remained there for several years researching cacodyl compounds, which was later presented in his book "Studies of the cacodyl series".

In 1841, he started working at the University of Marburg, where he made significant advances in the field of organic chemistry. In the same year, he wrote "Memoirs on Batteries" and developed the battery that bears his name. He also worked on a method that allowed him to separate metals through electrodeposition.

In 1852 he moved to the University of Heidelberg, where he remained until his death. During this period he founded an important and renowned school of chemists and physicists that included such distinguished students as Lothar Meyer and Dmitri Mendeleev.

Fully devoted to the study of chemistry, Bunsen carried out several investigations on gases that led to the creation of the famous Bunsen burner. After discovering with his burner that certain substances exposed to the heat gave off different shades of color, he decided to devote himself to studying the spectra of substances and, together with Gustav Kirchhoff, developed the first spectroscope in 1860.

In 1861, together with Kirchhoff, he developed the theory of spectral analysis, which led to the discovery of cesium and rubidium. His method facilitated the subsequent discovery of other elements such as thallium, gallium, scandium, and helium.

Bunsen spent his last years enjoying the study of geology. He died in Heidelberg on 16 August 1899 at the age of 88.

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