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March 31, 2011

Google doodle celebrates Robert Bunsen’s 200th

by Darren Allan

Robert Bunsen was born on this day in 1811, 200 years ago, and Google’s latest doodle celebrates the German scientist.

As all good chemistry students know – indeed, hopefully even bad chemistry students – Bunsen invented the burners we still use in school labs up and down the country today.

At least we assume we do, unless health and safety has banned them these days, and students have to hold up bits of paper with orange flames drawn on them instead to simulate heating. Nothing would surprise us.

The Google doodle is a rather smart animated one, with a series of bubbling compartments connected by tubes, and a Bunsen burner placed underneath on heating duties. The flame on the Bunsen burner changes height and colour, depending on where you move the mouse.

A “Moka” coffee pot appears to have sneaked its way into the experiment, too. Which might be Google’s way of saying it has invented the Caesium Frappucino (that would definitely wake you up of a morning).

Bunsen actually discovered Caesium, an alkali metal which reacts explosively with water. He also discovered Rubidium, and developed a number of other lab instruments, along with a prototype spectroscope.

Bunsen passed away in 1899.

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  1. Futuristic coffee pot?!
    It’s quite the opposite, it’s a moka pot - about 80 odd years old!!
    It’s an iconic espresso maker!!

    Comment by Anthony W — March 31, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  2. I am showing my coffee ignorance (never drink the stuff ;) Thanks for the correction, Anthony… no idea why I thought it was futuristic!

    Comment by Darren Allan — March 31, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  3. it is the best eever

    Comment by najk — March 31, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  4. As a microbiologist I am a big fan of a bunsen burner and I use one everyday in my hospital lab amongst the high tech equipment and analysers. How else do you think we flame sterilise nichrome wire loops and steel forceps when setting up samples? So not just school lab experiments eh?

    Comment by nessie — March 31, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  5. What was this google doodle built using? flash, javascript or something else?

    Comment by Cameron — March 31, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  6. Bunsen was born on March 30th.

    Comment by Jens — March 31, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  7. classy google. real classy. love these doodles. you should right the artists name next to the doodles as well. unless you already do.

    Comment by ace — March 31, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

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