Today is Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge’s 225th birth anniversary, and Google is celebrating the German analytical chemist’s birthday with an artistic doodle. The Google doodle is paying tribute to the scientist in a unique way by displaying the chemical formula of caffeine. Runge was born outside of Hamburg on this day in 1795. The son of a Lutheran pastor, he expressed interest in chemistry from an early age and began conducting experiments as a teenager. Baba Amte's 104th Birthday: Google Doodle Beautifully Traces the Life of Social Activist.
During one such experiment, Runge accidentally splashed a drop of belladonna extract in his eye, taking note of its pupil-dilating effects. Ten years later, while studying under renowned chemist and inventor Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner at the University of Jena, Runge was asked to reproduce belladonna’s effects s part of a demonstration for one of Döbereiner’s friends: the writer and polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Runge impressed Gothe with his knowledge. Goethe the handed Runge a bag of rare coffee beans and suggested he analyse their chemical makeup. Disney Legend Tyrus Wong Gets a Google Doodle, Chinese-American Artist Honoured on His 108th Birthday (Watch Video).
Shortly after that, Runge isolated the active ingredient, caffeine. After earning his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Runge went on to teach at the University of Breslau until 1831 when he left academia to take a position at a chemical company. During this time, he invented the first coal tar dye and a related process for dyeing clothes, which he discovered while working as a chemist at a chemical factory in Oranienburg, after leaving his professor post in 1831. Runge discovered a way to extract sugar from beet juice. The renowned analytical chemist died on March 25, 1867.