On May 31, 2013, search engine giant Google is celebrating the 161st birth anniversary of the German microbiologist, Julius Richard Petri, who invented the Petri dish. The Petri dish is used to cultivate bacteria and Google’s Doodle displays six dishes with different bacterial cultures in them today.


The Doodle shows growth of bacteria and how they form different types of spore. The icons represent six different examples where bacteria can be found, from a smelly socks to a dog’s mouth. Petri dish is very common these days in any laboratory or biology classroom and was conceived when Petri was an assistant to Robert Koch.

Koch is considered to be the father of modern bacteriology and Petri and he worked together in the nineteenth century. The Koch laboratory had worked with Agar, which is a substance made from algae, allowed for the study of bacteria cultures on its surface. However, the introduction of the Petri dish allowed for better identification than ever before.

Petri was born on May 31, 1852 in Zeitz in Germany and died on December 20, 1921. Petri dishes are used to make plates which are used for microbiological studies.