On Google home pages late last month, visitors to the website saw a logo that resembled pea plants with scientific annotation marks around it.
Why the pea logo?
The logo commemorated the 189th birthday (July 20, 1822) of Gregor Johann Mendel, a 19th-century Augustinian friar and scientist, who discovered some of the most celebrated laws of heredity. To celebrate his discovery and his name, Google made a special Google logo (aka Doodle) for him.
Abbot of the Augustinian Monastery in Brünn, Austria (now Brno, the Czech Republic), Mendel grew 28,000 pea plants over an eight-year period to conduct groundbreaking pea experiments, analyze DNA sequences and identify dominant and recessive genes. Although it took 35 years for experts to begin appreciating the importance of his work, Mendel is known commonly today as the “Father of Modern Genetics.”
At Villanova University, one of only two Catholic Augustinian institutions of higher education in the nation, the accomplishments of this Augustinian friar, teacher, scientist and mathematician are celebrated on a daily basis as students walk into the Mendel Science Center. Not only is he the namesake of Villanova’s on-campus Science Center, but his legacy remains a vital part of contemporary study of the natural and physical sciences at the University. The work of this celebrated scientist has been honored at Villanova since 1928 when it first established the Mendel Medal for outstanding work in the field of science.
In 2008, Villanova and The Academy of Natural Sciences teamed up to bring the exhibit, “Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics,” to Philadelphia.
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