Today’s Google Doodle is written in pea pod shells to mark the work of Gregor Mendel, a monk, who is considered to be the father of Genetics.
Mendel studied the inheritance patterns in pea plants, which were fast growing, to define traits of the plant that carried through each generation of plant. These traits are what we commonly know as genes today.
The annotations of G and Y on the peapod logo reflect this idea of traits, with the connecting lines illustrating the continuance of certain traits through the successive generation of plant.
Today the father of genetics would have been 189 years old but Mendel’s work was never recognized in his own time. Engadget notes that he famously said “mien Zeit wird schon kommen (“my time will yet come”), arguing that today may be that day. Certainly, it could be your day if you are in Mendel’s hometown in the Czech Republic as the Mendel Museum is offering free admission today.
Most likely, you can’t make it to the museum, so by way of offering a flavor for his work, check out this Gregor Mendel Rap, which sums up his core findings pretty succinctly.
It is also interesting that today is Moon Day, as noted by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Roundtable, who points out that Google has honored Moon Day in the past, but not this year.
As we have said on SEW many times before, there seems to be an innate wisdom to the choice of Google Doodle. Perhaps this year Google felt that the impact of advances in space travel had already been acknowledged with the Yuri Gagarin Doodle.
Furthermore, a pattern seems to be emerging in what has appeared to be random subjects, individuals, and events honored by Google Doodles in 2011 – namely that of modernity. Google has successively honored aspects of modern day life driven by scientific discoveries that we now take for granted, such as mass transit, long distance travel, chemistry, and evolution.
Now genetics is on the list. Willie Real, Google doodler, told Search Engine Watch (SEW), “Here at Google we love to celebrate modern science and what better way to honor ‘the father of genetics’ Gregor Mendel than transforming the Google logo into a diagram of his pea hybridization.”
The controversy surrounding genetically modified food perfectly illustrates what a staple of modern life genetics has become. What do you think Mendel would have made of his impact on the world now?