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Google Honors Petri Dish Inventor with Doodle

Petri dish google doodle
Google's May 31, 2013 Google Doodle honors the inventor of the Petri dish. (Image credit: Google)

Now Julius Richard Petri has really made it: The deceased German microbiologist is honored today with a Google Doodle depicting his most famous invention, the Petri dish.

Visitors to Google's homepage can watch the company's name "grow" in an animated series of Petri dishes, invented between 1877 and 1879 while Petri was working as an assistant scientist at the German Imperial Health Office. Today, May 31, would be Petri's 161st birthday (he died in 1921). Hovering over the dishes after the animation provides another surprise. (You'll have to check it out.)

Petri dishes live on in microbiology labs everywhere. Petri's invention enabled researchers to culture bacterial colonies, allowing for specific species to be linked to particular diseases. Today, you can buy a couple of Petri dishes and the agar gel to grow bacteria for less than $10 online. Go ahead, find out once and for all whether your mouth is cleaner than your dog's.

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Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.