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Who was Casimir Funk as Google Doodle honours him on his birthday

Who was Casimir Funk as Google Doodle honours him on his birthday

Google loves to recognise historical figures of significant importance

Google loves to recognise historical figures that you might not know through its Doodles, just take Casimir Funk for example.

Biochemist Funk is the focus of today's (23 February) Google Doodle, on what would have been his 140th birthday.

Born on 23 February, 1884, in Warsaw, Poland as Kazimierz Funk, the scientist is credited with numerous accolades when it comes to bettering our health as human beings.

Primarily so, he was among the very first people to come up with the concept of vitamins.

He recognised the human body's need for essential nutrients when it came to maintaining a long and healthy lifestyle.

Who was Casimir Funk?

After spending his school years in Poland, Funk headed for Switzerland to study biology and chemistry.

Aged just 20 at the time, he graduated from the University of Bern with a PhD in organic chemistry.

He then set his sights on various research groups found dotted across Europe.

What did Casimir Funk discover?

Casimir Funk's Google Doodle.

Funk is credited with researching what we now know as vitamins and their importance to our bodies.

Following his PhD he became particularly interested in food ingredients and their impact on helping with particular illnesses.

He focused on the likes of cancer, rickets, pellagra, and scurvy.

Then, in 1911, Funk focused his research on a substance called B1 (now known as thiamine) and formed it into small, ingestible crystals that helped with the growth and function of various cells.

The scientist dubbed his creation vitamines, after the Latin words vita (life) and amine (chemical compound containing an amino group). The term was later shortened to vitamin.

What happened next?

Funk focused his career on expanding knowledge of vitamins and their importance.

In 1915 he headed to New York City and became a US citizen some five years later. In the States, he worked in research positions at universities and years later went on to serve as consultant to the US Vitamin Corporation.

Casimir Funk.
Wielka Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN / Wikimedia Commons

For there on, Funk focused on discovering different vitamins and determined the foods each were found in.

After publishing his book Die Vitamine, scientists around the world went on to discover 13 different vitamins over the next 35 years.

His contributions to nutrition and medicine helped humanity overcome illnesses like scurvy, and opened several other doors for further scientific discovery.

Funk died aged 83 in New York.

Google says: "This Doodle celebrates Polish-American biochemist Casimir Funk, who was among the first to discover and introduce the concept of vitamins and essential nutrients needed for human health."

What is a Google Doodle?

Google Doodles are temporary logos on the Google homepage honouring something. That could be a person of historical relevance on their birthday, Christmas, or events in the world.

On Doodles, Google says: "The first Doodle was a simple out-of-office message, but in the past 25 years Doodles have grown into a global phenomenon celebrating heroes, events, culture, places and so much more.

"We’ve created more than 5,000 Doodles over the decades."

Featured Image Credit: Wielka Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN / Wikimedia Commons / Google

Topics: Google, Science, World News, Health, History