Robert Bunsen, best known for his burning presence in chemistry labs, would have turned 200 today.
Google honors him with an animation of a complex lab setup on its homepage. While his invention of this high-school science trademark consolidates his legacy, Bunsen’s contributions to the field extend beyond that. So while the doodle illustrates beakers filled with various substances that bubble, drain and refill under the Bunsen burner’s flame, science experts salute him for other accomplishments as well.
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Born in Germany in 1811, Bunsen studied chemistry and earned his doctorate at the age of 19. He began teaching at the University of Gottingen shortly thereafter and achieved notable advances throughout his lifetime. His use of iron oxide hydrate as a precipitating agent remains the best antidote for arsenic poisoning. And he discovered the element caesium — often used in atomic clocks — through a method of his own devise called flame spectroscopy. Bunsen died in 1899 at the age of 88, but his accomplishments continue to lead to scientific developments worldwide.
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