Google is giving a nod to science today by commemorating Famed German bacteriologist Julius Richard Petri’s 161st birthday with a Google Doodle. Petri is credited with the invention of the Petri dish which he created while working as an assistant to bacteriologist Robert Koch in Berlin.
The Google logo has been replaced with six animated Petri dishes, all in Google colors along with a play button. After clicking the play button, viewers can watch the dishes being swabbed with a q-tip, followed by bacteria forming the Google letters in each dish. Hovering over the dishes brings up a small image representing the bacteria’s source (a dirty sock, a door handle, a keyboard, a pet, the outside and a plate being scrubbed), while an icon in the bottom right corner leads viewers to search results for Julius Richard Petri.
Petri studied at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Academy for Military Physicians and received his medical degree in 1876. He worked as a military physician in Berlin until 1882. Between 1877 and 1879, Petri worked with Robert Koch as his assistant while assigned to Berlin’s Imperial Health Office. Koch’s laboratory began to culture bacteria using agar, a jelly-like substance. To isolate the bacteria, Petri invented the small round Petri dish which continues to be used in microbiology studies to culture microorganisms.
The Petri dish has made it possible for microbiologist to identify bacteria that lead to disease, as well as playing a major role in classrooms and science fairs across the globe.