HomeDoodlesToday’s Google Doodle Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, from discovering caffeine to malaria treatment

Today’s Google Doodle Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, from discovering caffeine to malaria treatment


Raise a cup to Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge (Picture: Google) Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge.  He would have been 225 today, and we have a lot to thank him for. Not least, his isolation of the active ingredient caffeine.  Although this was probably the most famous of his discoveries, he had an illustrious career with a whole host of incredible feats.  Runge was born on 8 February 1795 near Hamburg in Germany.  His love for science started young, and he discovered the pupil dilating effects of belladonna extract aged just 15; a finding that caught the attention of writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1819. The man himself (Picture: Wikimedia Commons) Goethe encouraged Runge to look at the chemical composition of coffee beans, which led to his isolation of caffeine just a few months later.  From there, Runge went on to study in Jena and Berlin, tour Europe, and teach chemistry at the University of Breslau. Advertisement Advertisement  His last years were spent in poverty, after he was let go from a job at a chemical company by a resentful manager. He died on 25 March 1867.  Runge’s discoveries over the course of his life will be well remembered in the scientific community.  He wrote two book on how to separate chemicals using paper chromatography, as well as inventing a synthetic blue dye that could be used on clothes.  He even found a way to extract sugar from beetroot juice, as well as isolating quinine (a chemical used in the treatment of malaria) for the very first time.  MORE: UK networks have ‘no plans’ to stop free data roaming after Brexit  MORE: Elon Musk launches heroic bid to stop dogs dying inside hot cars Advertisement Advertisement

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