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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Robert Bunsen Quotes

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Robert Bunsen
(31 Mar 1811 - 16 Aug 1899)

German chemist who, working with Gustav Kirchoff, expanded the use of analytical spectroscopy and discovered two new elements - caesium and rubidium. He initiated the development of the Bunsen burner, and remains recognized for his many significant contributions to chemical knowledge and techniques.


Science Quotes by Robert Bunsen (5 quotes)

Bin Chemiker der kein Physiker ist, ist gar nichts.
A chemist who is not a physicist is nothing at all.
— Robert Bunsen
J. R. Partington (ed.), A History of Chemistry (1961), Vol. 4, 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemist (49)  |  Physicist (74)

At the moment I am occupied by an investigation with Kirchoff which does not allow us to sleep. Kirchoff has made a totally unexpected discovery, inasmuch as he has found out the cause for the dark lines in the solar spectrum and can produce these lines artificially intensified both in the solar spectrum and in the continuous spectrum of a flame, their position being identical with that of Fraunhofer’s lines. Hence the path is opened for the determination of the chemical composition of the Sun and the fixed stars.
— Robert Bunsen
Letter to H.E. Roscoe (Nov 1859). In The Life and Experiences of Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe (1906), 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Absorption Line (2)  |  Biography (199)  |  Composition (30)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Flame (13)  |  Kirchoff_Gustav (3)  |  Sleep (25)  |  Solar Spectrum (3)  |  Spectrum (17)  |  Star (132)  |  Sun (115)

At the moment I am occupied by an investigation with Kirchoff which does not allow us to sleep. Kirchoff has made a totally unexpected discovery, inasmuch as he has found out the cause for the dark lines in the solar spectrum and can produce these lines artificially intensified both in the solar spectrum and in the continuous spectrum of a flame, their position being identical with that of Fraunhofer’s lines. Hence the path is opened for the determination of the chemical composition of the Sun and the fixed stars.
— Robert Bunsen
Letter to H.E. Roscoe (Nov 1859). In The Life and Experiences of Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe (1906), 81.
Science quotes on:  |  Absorption Line (2)  |  Biography (199)  |  Composition (30)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Flame (13)  |  Kirchoff_Gustav (3)  |  Sleep (25)  |  Solar Spectrum (3)  |  Spectrum (17)  |  Star (132)  |  Sun (115)

Working is beautiful and rewarding, but acquisition of wealth for its own sake is disgusting.
A comment Bunsen often told his students.
— Robert Bunsen
Quoted in R. Desper, The Human Side of Scientists (1975), 28.
Science quotes on:  |  Reward (21)  |  Wealth (29)  |  Work (198)

You can find that sort of regularity in Stock Exchange quotations.
[Expressing his lack of confidence in reported regularities in the periodic classification of elements.]
— Robert Bunsen
As quoted in Stanley I. Levy, 'Brauner Memorial Lecture', Journal of the Chemical Society (1935), Pt. 2, 1878. It has also been quoted as “One might just as well seek regularities in the figures of stock exchange bulletins” in L. Vlasov and D. Trifonov, trans. from Russian by David Sobolev, 107 Stories About Chemistry (1970).
Science quotes on:  |  Find (50)  |  Periodic Table (10)  |  Regularity (11)  |  Sort (7)



Quotes by others about Robert Bunsen (3)

Describing Robert Bunsen:
As an investigator he was great, as a teacher he was greater, as a man and friend he was greatest.
Henry Roscoe on Bunsen. In J. R. Partington (ed.), A History of Chemistry (1961), Vol. 4, 282.

First I would like to wash Bunsen, and then I would like to kiss him because he is such a charming man.
Remark by the wife of Emil Fischer, upon meeting Bunsen for the first time, perhaps noticing a lasting chemical odour from his work.
Quoted in E. Fischer, Aus meinem Leben (1923). Trans. W. H. Brock.
Science quotes on:  |  Emil Fischer (7)

Before an experiment can be performed, it must be planned—the question to nature must be formulated before being posed. Before the result of a measurement can be used, it must be interpreted—nature's answer must be understood properly. These two tasks are those of the theorist, who finds himself always more and more dependent on the tools of abstract mathematics. Of course, this does not mean that the experimenter does not also engage in theoretical deliberations. The foremost classical example of a major achievement produced by such a division of labor is the creation of spectrum analysis by the joint efforts of Robert Bunsen, the experimenter, and Gustav Kirchoff, the theorist. Since then, spectrum analysis has been continually developing and bearing ever richer fruit.
'The Meaning and Limits of Exact Science', Science (30 Sep 1949), 110, No. 2857, 325. Advance reprinting of chapter from book Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography (1949), 110.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (19)  |  Achievement (73)  |  Answer (96)  |  Bearing (5)  |  Collaboration (9)  |  Continuing (2)  |  Creation (129)  |  Dependence (21)  |  Development (122)  |  Example (21)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Experimenter (9)  |  Formulation (14)  |  Fruit (31)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Kirchoff_Gustav (3)  |  Labor (18)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Nature (534)  |  Performance (16)  |  Plan (40)  |  Question (159)  |  Result (129)  |  Richness (8)  |  Task (32)  |  Theorist (7)  |  Tool (30)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Use (54)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon 31 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Bunsen's birth.
  • todayinsci icon Robert Bunsen - Cζsium and Rubidium (1861)
  • todayinsci icon Robert Bunsen - Obituary - American Journal of Pharmacy (1899).

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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