Today Google is celebrating German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge 225th birth anniversary with a doodle on 8th February 2019.
Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was a German analytical chemist whose place in history resulted in large part from an accident followed by a chance encounter.
Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was born on 8th February 1795 to a Lutheran pastor in Hamburg, Germany. He died on 25 March 1867 (aged 73) in Oranienburg, Germany.
Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge always has an interest in chemistry from childhood and began conducting experiments as a teenager. During one such experiment, he accidentally splashed a drop of belladonna extract in his eye, taking note of its pupil-dilating effects.
Ten years later, while studying under renown chemist and inventor Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner at the University of Jena, Runge was asked to reproduce belladonna’s effects s part of a demonstration for one of Döbereiner’s friends: the writer and polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Goethe handed Runge a bag of rare coffee beans and suggested he analyze their chemical makeup. Shortly thereafter, Runge isolated the active ingredient we know today as caffeine!
After earning his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Runge went on to teach at the University of Breslau until 1831 when he left academia to take a position at a chemical company. During this time, he invented the first coal tar dye and a related process for dyeing clothes. His contributions to the world also include: being one of the first scientists to isolate quinine (a drug used to treat malaria), considered an originator of paper chromatography (an early technique for separating chemical substances), and even devising a method for extracting sugar from beet juice.