You can thank Julius Richard Petri for a lot of your high school biology fun. The inventor of the Petri dish is being honored by Google today with an awesome animated doodle.
Petri was a German microbiologist who is credited with inventing the device that bears his name while working as an assistant to Robert Koch, who is considered to be the father of modern bacteriology.
From 1877 to 1879 he was assigned to the Imperial Health Office (German: Kaiserliches Gesundheitsamt) in Berlin, where he became an assistant to Robert Koch. On the advice of Angelina Hesse, the New York-born wife of another assistant, Walther Hesse, the Koch laboratory began to culture bacteria on agar plates. Petri then invented the standard culture dish, or Petri plate, and further developed the technique of agar culture to purify or clone bacterial colonies derived from single cells. This advance made it possible to rigorously identify the bacteria responsible for diseases.
Of course, Petri dishes are one of the most important tools in microbiology.
Today's Doodle features 6 Petri dishes (in the classic Google colors), which are swabbed by hand and eventually fill up with bacteria forming the rough shapes of G-O-O-G-L-E. Hovering over each dish shows you the source of each culture - a stinky sock, a door handle, a keyboard, a dog, soil and plants, and a kitchen sponge
I think I'll go wash my hands now.[Video via Simon Rueger]