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Whether you’re a microbiologist or have never donned a white lab coat in your life, you’ll appreciate Google’s latest doodle designed to celebrate what would have been Julius Richard Petri’s 161st birthday with a bacteria-filled doodle.
Petri, who was born on May 31 1852, is widely credited with inventing the Petri dish, a shallow lidded plate that is used by biologists to cultivate micro-organisms like bacteria. Petri was working as an assistant to Robert Koch, considered the founder of modern bacteriology, at the time, and also helped with developing the process of using jelly like agar to clone colonies of bacteria, making it possible to identify the bacteria responsible for certain diseases.
Google’s doodle is designed to show you the bacteria lurking in common places — from the mouth of a dog, to a smelly sock, your computer keyboard, soil, a sponge and a door handle. Hovering over any of the Petri dishes shows you where the micro-organisms came from, and the colonies are all neatly arranged to form the letters of Google’s name.
It’s a cool, but slightly gross, doodle, especially as the substances in the dishes look quite realistic and are likely to remind you that you’ve probably touched at least one of the things they came from today. Time to haul out the anti-bacterial wipes.