Google Doodle Celebrating Robert Koch

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Celebrating Robert Koch

On this day in 1905, German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Perhaps better than anyone else at the time, Koch understood that sometimes the keys to solving big problems lay in their microcosms. He dedicated his life to studying germs – some of the tiniest of living organisms on Earth – and how they cause infectious diseases. Countless lives have been saved thanks to his role in proving the revolutionary idea that germs cause diseases, and in identifying the bacterium for anthrax, cholera, and tuberculosis.

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Koch’s legacy doesn’t end there. By developing many of the basic principles and techniques of modern bacteriology, he inspired a new generation of scientists and “microbe-hunters,” ushering in a Golden Age of bacteriology. During this Golden Age, scientists discovered the microorganisms responsible for causing twenty-one different diseases. “As soon as the right method was found, discoveries came as easily as ripe apples from a tree,” Koch explained.

Today’s Doodle illustrates potato slices – the original media he used to isolate pure bacterial cells to help with his research. Koch experimented with potato slices until his assistant, Julius Petri, invented the Petri dish (also depicted in the Doodle, and bearing Koch’s image).

Thank you for your truly groundbreaking work, Dr. Koch!

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