Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge: His Three Biggest Discoveries!

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Google Doodle: Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge

On February 8, 2019 Google celebrated the 225. birthday of German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge with a Doodle. Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was born in Hamburg, Germany and became interested in chemistry at an early age. He also started doing his own experiments as a teenager. Find out more about his three major discoveries:

  • It’s said that by accident, Runge discovered the pupil-enlarging effect of the Black Belladonna juice. Runge himself got a very small amount of juice into his eye.
  • Runge and German poet Goethe knew each other as Goethe was his superior at the University of Jena. He was not only a poet but a universal genius, who also gave Runge the inspiration to discover caffeine. He advised his friend, the chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, to distill coffee beans. He then found the caffeine. Today, Germany is the world champion in decaffeination.
  • Even more important than his discovery of caffeine is Runge’s discovery of the substance aniline, with which coal chemistry began, as an article in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung states. The legend says that the shimmering tar pool on the courtyard of a chemical factory in Oranienburg close to Berlin gave him the idea to synthesize the brightest colors from the dirty raw material in 1843.

Featured images (cropped): Memorial for Ferdinand Friedlieb Runge – Doris Antony Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 3.0/
Ferdinand RungeKilom691 Wikimedia – Public Domain

February 8, 2019
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