Karl Kastner studied under Johann Göttling at the University of Jena, where he later began lecturing before moving to the University of Heidelberg.
In 1812, Kastner became Professor at the University of Halle. In 1818, he moved to the University of Bonn, where he began supervising Justus von Liebig. Kastner then moved to the University of Erlangen for political reasons, with Liebig following him.
Throughout his various academic posts, Kastner taught many subjects including chemistry, mathematics, zoology, physics, mineralogy, geology and pharmacy. He is remembered for his study of triboluminescence.
Johann Friedrich August Göttling