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Google celebrates Julius Richard Petri, inventor of the Petri dish

Have you googled anything today? If so, you may have noticed that the Google Doodle looks different. That's because today is the 161st anniversary of the birth of German bacteriologist, Julius Richard Petri. He was the inventor of the Petri dish ā€“ one of the most ubiquitous items used by microbiologists, molecular biologists and health-care workers around the world.

Petri was born in Barmen, Germany, in 1852. He studied medicine at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Academy for Military Physicians in Berlin, receiving his degree in 1876. He then worked at the worked at the Imperial Health Office with Robert Koch, who is known the world over as "the father of bacteriology".

Koch grew bacteria on gelatin and also on agar, a gelatinous substance made by boiling a marine algae. Originally known as agar-agar, the name comes from the Malay name for red algae. These culture media were poured onto shallow plates and allowed to solidify before bacterial samples were placed on the surface to grow.

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