Friday, 31 May 2013

Petri's 161st Birthday!

Today is the 161st birthday of Julius Richard Petri, the German microbiologist who invented the Petri dish. As part of my History GCSE I am studying the History of Medicine, so I thought it appropriate to do a short blog post on him.

Petri,(May 31, 1852 – December 20, 1921) was a German microbiologist who is generally credited with inventing the Petri dish while working as an assistant to pioneering bacteriologist Robert Koch.

Petri studied medicine at the Kaiser Wilhelm Academy for Military Physicians and received his medical degree in 1876. He then worked and studied as a military physician until 1882, until he began working as an assistant to Robert Koch, the great microbiologist who first discovered the bacteria for anthrax in 1875, and many other bacteria in the following years.

Koch began to culture bacteria on agar plates on the advice on Angelina Hesse, which led to Petri then inventing the standard Petri dish, and improving the technique of agar culture to purify or clone bacteria. This invention made it possible, for the first time, to study colonies and identify the bacteria responsible for individual diseases.

Petri's contribution to science is undoubtedly incredibly significant and whilst the culture dish is named after him, Petri's work is often forgotten as people tend to focus on Koch. So, happy birthday Julius Richard Petri!