with the Atom
Compiled by Glen E.
Drawing of Spectroscope that appeared in Kirchhoff's and Bunsen's 1860 paper entitled "Chemical Analysis by Observation of Spectra."(Photo source: Classic Papers from the History of Chemistry webpage)
|Gustav Robert Kirchhoff was born in Koenigsberg, German in 1824. He attended the University of Koenigsberg until 1947, when he began to lecture in Berlin and Breslau. He taught at the University of Heidelberg, where he collaborated with Robert Bunsen from 1854-1875. One major contribution to the field of science includes the formation of laws pertaining to electrical currents. His greatest achievement was the formation of a basis for spectroscopy. He discovered that every element, when burned in a Bunsen burner flame (designed by and named for his partner), exhibits a characteristic spectrum of light. He designed an instrument that would split the light given off by a flame into lines of it's component wavelengths. The critical insight that Kirchhoff offered was that when a source of white light was shown through a gas and split with a prism, an absorption spectrum was observed instead of the emission spectrum. The dark lines of the absorption spectrum exactly mirrored the emission spectrum observed in the Bunsen burner flame. These discoveries and the development of the spectroscope led to the development of a method by which one could identify the components of a substance by the signature lines in its spectrum. The foundation of spectroscopy was instrumental in discovering many new elements, including cesium and rubidium, which Kirchhoff and Bunsen discovered themselves in 1860 and 1861, respectively, thallium, indium, gallium, helium, yttberbium, among others. Finally, Kirchhoff's work proved theories about black blody radiation that comprises the groundwork of quantum theory.|
|HAO (High Altitude Observatory) History Web Pages: Gustav Kirchhoff (1824-1887)|
|Slider Encyclopeadia: Kirchhoff, Gustav Robert|
|Web link #3 (put in descriptive title)|
Some Web Sources on the History of Atomic Scientists:
The History of Chemistry 1992 Woodrow Wilson Summer Institute
Selected Classic Papers from the History of Chemistry
Classic Papers from the History of Chemistry (and Some Physics too)
Classic Chemistry compiled by Carmen Giunta
History of Science website by Charlesworth
Center for the History of Physics
Echo Exploring & Collecting History Online
Atom: The Incredible World: The History of Atomistics
Nobel Prize WebPage
Biographies of Famous Chemists, University of Liverpool
University of Pennsylvania Biographies
Chemistry: A History
Famous Scientists greatly who contributed to "electro" science: electricity, electromagnetism,
electrical technology, electronics, electrical telegraphy, radio, electrochemistry, electromedicine, etc.
Elements and Atoms: Case Studies in the Development of Chemistry
|Sacks, Oliver. Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood. Knopf, New York: 2001.||pp. 215-220|
|Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Doubleday, Garden City: 1982||pp. 428-429|
|Title of Biography #1||Title of Biography #2|
|Description of Site #1||Address &/or Directions to Site #1|
|Description of Site #2||Address &/or Directions to Site #2|
|Description of Site #3||Address &/or Directions to Site #3|
* see following Rodgers link to scientific/historical sites for further information.
(1) Taken from The Scientific Traveler, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1992).
(2) Taken from A Travel Guide to Scientific Sites of the British Isles, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1995).
(3) Taken from Guide of Eurpoean Museums with collections on History of Chemistry, compiled by Jan W. van Spronsen, Federation of European Societies, Antwerp (1996)
Links to Dr. Rodgers' Scientific/Historical Sites will be available here.
|Scientific Historical Traveling||Rodgers Home Page|