Google Doodle honours German Chemist who Identified Caffeine

NEW DELHI: Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, a German analytical chemist, was honored by Google Doodle on Friday, on his 225th birth anniversary.

Runge is remembered for identifying caffeine, the psychoactive drug present in coffee beans which is responsible for stimulating the central nervous system.

The German chemist (February 8, 1794 -25 March 1867) is also credited with finding the effect of belladonna plan's extract on dilating of pupils. Runge had accidentally splashed a drop of belladonna extract in his eye and took note of its effect on his pupil.

This finding caught the attention of the German writer and polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe asked Runge to study and identify the chemical composition of coffee beans.

The renowned chemist, who was born in Hamburg, began to exhibit an inclination in experimenting in his adolescence. This inclination proved to be a contributing factor in his career. Runge completed his doctorate from the University of Berlin and taught at the University of Breslau till 1831.

His noteworthy inventions include first coal tar dye along with a process on how to dye clothes. He is also one of the first scientists to isolate quinine (a drug used to treat malaria). The chemist has also contributed as an originator of paper chromatography (an early technique for separating chemical substances) and devising a method for extracting sugar from beet juice.

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