Today’s Google Doodle honors Dr. Stamen Grigorov, a Bulgarian doctor and microbiologist, on his 142nd birthday.
Birthday. Grigorov was the first scientist to discover Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacterium essential for the fermentation of milk into yogurt.
He also played a central role in the development of the very first tuberculosis vaccine.
The search engine giant has chosen to highlight Grigorov’s work with a Google Doodle – a special temporary change to the logo of its homepage, which reminds of holidays, events, achievements and historical personalities.
Today’s logo shows a cartoon sketch of Grigorov sitting on the floor in an apron, holding a spoon of yogurt up.
He is surrounded by fruits, vegetables and yogurt bowls, and in the background animations are moving like a pot on a burner and the opening of a refrigerator door.
Early research for the Doodle included sketches by Helene Leroux, who was inspired by the Bulgarian folklore character Kuma Lisa, a fox who, according to Google’s blog about the artwork, often plays the role of the trickster.
Google says that his scrawl can be seen in Canada, the USA, Argentina, Chile, Peru, France, Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Greece.
Who is Dr. Stamen Grigorov?
Dr. Stamen Grigorov was born on October 27, 1878 and today he celebrates his 142nd birthday. birthday. He also died on his birthday in 1945 at the age of 67.
According to Google’s blog, Grigorov grew up in the village of Studen Izvor in the Trun region of western Bulgaria.
The blog further describes how he became interested in science at a young age. He completed his scientific education in Montpellier, France, before earning his doctorate at the Medical University of Geneva in Switzerland, Google reports.
His most famous scientific discovery, however, came when he completed his doctorate and worked as a research assistant at the university.
In 1905, at the age of 27, Grigorov discovered the bacillus strain that allows milk to ferment into natural yogurt.
Discovery of the Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Grigorov had married in 1904, one year before he left his home country to work as a research assistant in Geneva.
As a reminder of home, his wife presented him with some Bulgarian culinary staples, including yogurt, according to Google’s blog.
The scientist was immediately fascinated by the alleged health benefits of yogurt and decided to examine it through a microscope.
Portrait of Dr. Stamen Grigorov before 1918
After thousands of experiments, he finally found what he was looking for in 1905.
He discovered the rod-shaped microorganism that causes the fermentation of yogurt, and the bacterium was later renamed Lactobacillus bulgaricus in honor of his native country.
But yogurt also has a long history in the country, with Bulgarians claiming that the diary product was discovered accidentally by nomadic tribes some 4,000 years ago, according to the BBC.
These nomads apparently carried their milk in animal skins while traveling, creating a mature environment for the growth of bacteria that caused fermentation.
Elitsa Stoilova, assistant professor of ethnology at the University of Plovdiv, told the channel: “It is true that yogurt has been part of people’s diet in the Balkans for centuries. It is a natural process that people have somehow discovered…
“In fact, the Balkans is one of the many places in the world that has the specific bacteria and temperature ranges necessary for natural yogurt production.
But Grigorov’s discovery of Lactobacillus bulgaricus played a crucial role in bringing yogurt to the West and making it the widespread product it is today.
His contribution to the first tuberculosis vaccine
After his discovery in Geneva, Grigorov accepted a position as chief physician at a local hospital in his hometown of Trun in the same year, Google’s blog continues.
But his groundbreaking discoveries did not stop there. In 1906 he published a paper in which he showed how penicillin mushrooms could be used to treat tuberculosis.
An article on Bulgarian Radio BNR reported that Grigorov was not credited with the development of the first tuberculosis vaccine, normally attributed to French scientists Camille Guerin and Albert Calmette, because “a strange coincidence of events” had taken place.
The report stated that Grigorov did not get his approval for the vaccine because there is no medical facility in Bulgaria with sufficient power to carry out the vaccination.