When Google Doodles Scientists

13 Jan

Ever since 1998, Google has been brightening up its homepage with “Google doodles”, playfully customised logos which celebrate a current event or the birthday of a famous person. The first ever doodle was created when the Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, attended the Burning Man festival and wanted to let Google users know that they were “out of office”.

Since then, the Google doodle has become a bit of a pop culture phenomenon. There have now been over 1,000 doodles, celebrating events ranging from the anniversary of the ice cream sundae to Freddie Mercury’s 65th Birthday (this one needs to be seen!).

A couple days ago, being the geek that I am, I got quite excited by a science-themed doodle – a strati-tastic version of the Google logo in celebration of Nicolas Steno, an important figure in modern geology.

So, noticing that Google keeps an archive of all of its doodles, I thought I’d find out which other scientists had been honoured by Google’s creative bods. Turns out there’s quite a lot…

13.03.03 – Albert Einstein's 124th birthday

02.02.04 – the 111th birthday of Gaston Julia, influential French mathematician

13.03.06 – the 151st birthday of Percival Lowell, pioneering astronomer

11.04.07 – 73rd birthday of Yuri Gagarin, the first person in outer space

03.03.08 – 161st birthday of Alexander Graham Bell, usually credited as the inventor of the telephone

12.04.08 – 200th birthday of Antonio Meucci, less usually credited as the inventor of the telephone

12.02.09 – Charles Darwin's 200th birthday

14.03.09 – 174th birthday of Giovanni Schiaparelli, Italian astronomer known for his studies of Mars

16.04.09 – 380th birthday of Christiaan Huygens, Dutch inventor of the pendulum clock

07.05.09 – celebrating Alexander Popov's invention of the radio in the 1890s

22.05.09 – 76th birthday of Chen Jingrun, Chinese mathematician who made significant contributions to number theory

10.07.09 – 153rd birthday of Nikola Tesla, best known for his Tesla coil invention

14.08.09 – 232nd birthday of Hans Christian Ørsted, Danish scientist who made important contributions to electromagnetism

25.08.09 – 400th anniversary of Galileo's first telescope, used to discover Jupiter's moons

21.09.09 – 143rd birthday of H. G. Wells, hugely influential science fiction writer (not strictly a scientist, but he deserves a mention anyway)

11.12.09 – 98th birthday of Qian Xuesen, Chinese scientist who made important contributions to the space programs of China and the US

18.12.09 – 222nd birthday of Jan Evangelista Purkyně, influential Czech anatomist and physiologist who discovered Purkinje cells, a class of neuron

04.01.11 – 367th birthday of Isaac Newton

28.05.10 – 131st birthday of Milutin Milanković, Serbian geophysicist best known for his theory of ice ages

05.06.10 – 110th birthday of Dennis Gabor, inventor of the hologram

11.06.10 – 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau, best known for his ocean exploration

19.08.10 – 50th anniversary of Belka and Strelka's space flight, the first living creatures to go into orbit and return safely

08.10.10 – 73rd birthday of César Milstein, Argentine biochemist who made important contributions to our understanding of antibodies

11.02.11 – 163rd birthday of Thomas Edison, prolific inventor who gave us the first efficient, commercially produced light bulb

26.04.11 – 226th birthday of John James Audubon, French-American ornithologist known for his beautifully intricate bird illustrations

02.07.11 – 137th birthday of Pedro Paulet, Peruvian scientist considered to be one of the fathers of aeronautics

17.08.11 – 410th birthday of Pierre de Fermat, French lawyer and mathematician best known for his Last Theorem

16.09.11 – 118th birthday of Albert Szent-Györgyi, Hungarian physiologist who discovered Vitamin C

07.11.11 – 144th birthday of Marie Curie, physicist and chemist known for her pioneering research on radioactivity, and the first person to be honoured with two Nobel Prizes

08.11.11 – 355th birthday of Edmond Halley, English scientist who computed the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet

09.11.11 – 135th birthday of Hideyo Noguchi, Japanese bacteriologist who successfully cultured the bacterium which causes syphilis

12.11.11 – 101st birthday of Hua Luogeng, pioneering Chinese mathematician who wrote more than 200 papers and monographs

19.11.11 – 300th birthday of Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian polymath who, amongst other things, discovered the atmosphere of Venus

23.11.11 – 60th anniversary of Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem's first publication

12.12.11 – 84th birthday of Robert Noyce, the "Mayor of Silicon Valley"

11.01.12 – 374th birthday of Nicolas Steno, Danish Catholic bishop and scientist known as the father of stratigraphy and geology

If some of these scientists seem a little obscure, it’s because not all of the doodles appear in every country. For example, Chen Jingrun‘s doodle only appeared in his native China, whilst Antonio Meucci‘s doodle only appeared in Italy. Also, the doodles I’ve show here are only for science personalities – there have been plenty more doodles celebrating science events such as Pi Day, the opening of the Large Hadron Collider, and last year’s total lunar eclipse.

I think it’s awesome that Google pays tribute to all these scientists, giving them fresh exposure to millions (billions?) of internet users. I wonder who’ll be up next? My vote would be Werner Heisenberg or Louis Pasteur

4 Responses to “When Google Doodles Scientists”

  1. Kimberley January 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Wow! These are awesome – thanks for sharing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why did a Google doodle honor Schrödinger and his cat? – Science Recorder | News Supply Daily - August 13, 2013

    […] is one of several scientists that Google has honored with doodles thus far. Other scientist-dedicated doodles that the site has included a doodle July 25, 2013, to […]

  2. Why did a Google doodle honor Schrödinger and his cat? – Science Recorder | Speedy News Update - August 13, 2013

    […] is one of several scientists that Google has honored with doodles thus far. Other scientist-dedicated doodles that the site has included a doodle July 25, 2013, to […]

  3. Why did a Google doodle honor Schrödinger and his cat? – Science Recorder | Everyday News Update - August 13, 2013

    […] is one of several scientists that Google has honored with doodles thus far. Other scientist-dedicated doodles that the site has included a doodle July 25, 2013, to […]

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