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Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen pamphlet


Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Robert Wilhelm Bunsen was born in Gottingen on March 30, 1811. He graduated from the University of Gottingen and later taught at Kassel, Marburg Heidelberg and Breslau. He was a pioneer in photochemistry and gas-analytical methods and discovered the elements Cesium and Rubidium by analyzing spectra. He died at Heidelberg on August 16, 1899.

This pamphlet has a hand written title which reads Reactionen auf Sauren on the front cover. It is undated and in poor condition. It may have been distributed as a hand-out to Bunsen's students as a guide to their laboratory work. This is a seven page transfer lithographed pamphlet with a black paper binding strip on the left hand side of the paper wrapper covers at one point it was stapled on this edge but the staples have been removed. It is a reproduction of a handwritten document consisting of laboratory procedures relating to research done by Bunsen on the reactions of acids. It was hand written (author unknown) and mechanically reproduced by one of Bunsen's lab assistant. It has notations by an unknown author in pen and pencil on the front and back wrappers and some red underlining.

Commenting upon Bunsen's pamphlets, Theodor Curtius, one of his students at Heidelberg, wrote: "Not all chemists might know that Bunsen compiled the reactions of the acids, wrote them down in his own hand and had them duplicated. He seems to have done this only in later years. One would receive a copy from him as a gift. This overview of the reactions of no less than 44 acids is almost unique. It Comprises 7 groups, of which 6 are put together only according to the difference of the reaction of the acids under different circumstances with reagents silver nitrate and barium chlorite. Of special interest is the fact, that the reactions of many rare earth elements are also given: chlorous acid, hydrogen selenide, hydrogen telluride, selenic and telluric acid, selenious and tellurous acid, periodic acid, polythionic acids, vanadium- , wolfram- , titanium- , niobium- and tantalum acid etc. The various tests given in the most concise form, not one word too much or too little for the observer. The major reactions are indicated by exclamation marks" (Theodor Curtius, Robert Bunsen als Lehrer in Heidelberg. Akademische Rede zur Feier des Geburtstagsfestes des hochsteeligen Grossherzogs Karl Friedrich am 22. November 1905.) [Information provided by Christine Nawa translation by Nawa and James Voelkel.]

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