Hans Christian Gram’s Google Doodle: Google Friday honoured Danish bacteriologist Hans Christian Gram in its doodle. He is best remembered for his bacteria staining technique in 1884 — a seminal innovation essential for observing bacteria under a microscope.
Born on September 13, 1853, in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, Gram began his medical career by working as a physician in the local civic hospital.
His namesake staining technique was a groundbreaking discovery in the study of microbiology. The Gram stain method involves treating a trace of bacteria with a violet dye, then rinsing it with iodine solution and an organic solvent. Bacteria that possess a thick cell wall remain purple and are called Gram-positive while bacteria with a thinner cell wall fail to retain the stain and are classified as Gram-negative.
The discovery was made after Gram, while examining lung tissues from patients in Berlin, who had died of pneumonia, discovered that certain stains were preferentially taken up and retained by bacterial cells.
The famed Danish scientist died in 1938 at the age of 85. The Gram staining technique is extensively used even after eight decades of his death, engraving his legacy in the annals of the history of microbiology. The technique is often amongst the first laboratory experiments performed by young biology students at school.