Google celebrates Polish Inventor Rudolf Stefan Weigl’s 138th Birthday with a doodle
Google on Thursday celebrated the 138th birthday of Polish inventor, doctor, and immunologist Rudolf Weigl with a doodle. Today’ doodle shows a bearded Weigl holding a test tube in his gloved hands as drawings of lice and a human body are displayed on the wall behind him. The illustrator has spelled out Google with a microscope, beakers on bunsen burners, and test tubes in holders all placed on a lab table.
Notably, the Polish inventor is credited with saving millions of lives as he had produced the first-ever effective vaccine against epidemic typhus. As a humanitarian, he was also responsible for saving several Jewish lives in the Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
“From studying a tiny louse to saving thousands of human lives, the impacts your tireless work had on the world are felt to this day—Happy Birthday, Rudolf Weigl!” Google wrote on its website.
The noted biologist was born in Austro-Hungarian town of Przerow on September 2, 1883. He completed his graduation in biological sciences from the Lwow University in Poland in 1907 and earned doctorate degrees in subjects such as zoology, comparative anatomy, and histology. In 1914, he was appointed as a parasitologist in the Polish Army at a time when millions across Eastern Europe were plagued by typhus.
Determined to stop its spread, he started conducting research on the disease and found that the root cause of it was lice that carried the infection. He then grew it in his laboratory and squashed their stomachs to create the vaccine. In 1936, Rudolf Weigl’s vaccine successfully inoculated its first beneficiary. Later, when Nazi Germany heard about him, he was asked to create a Typhus vaccine manufacturing plant. For that, he hired many of his Jewish colleagues and friends who were at the risk of getting persecuted. He even managed to smuggle the vaccines into the concentration camps.
His work has been honored by not one but two Nobel Prize nominations. Weigl passed away on August 11, 1957.