Dr. Stamen Grigorov’s 142nd Birthday – Today’s Doodle celebrates the 142nd birthday of Bulgarian physician and microbiologist Dr. Stamen Grigorov, the first scientist to discover the bacterium essential to the fermentation of yogurt. Grigorov also contributed to the development of the world’s first tuberculosis vaccine.
Stamen Grigorov was born on this day in 1878 in the village of Studen Izvor, located in the Trun region of western Bulgaria. Passionate about science from a young age, he went on to earn a doctorate from the Medical University of Geneva, Switzerland. Following his wedding in 1904, Grigorov returned to the university to work as a research assistant.
As a reminder of home, Grigorov’s wife gifted him with some Bulgarian culinary staples, including yogurt. Intrigued by yogurt’s reputed health benefits, Grigorov decided to inspect it under a microscope. Following thousands of experiments, in 1905 he finally found what he was looking for: the rod-shaped microorganism that causes yogurt’s fermentation. The bacterium was later renamed Lactobacillus bulgaricus in honor of Grigorov’s home country.
Later that year, Grigorov took a position as chief physician at a local hospital in his hometown of Trun. In 1906, he released a groundbreaking paper demonstrating the first use of penicillin fungi against tuberculosis. He continued this research and worked as a doctor throughout the rest of his life, saving thousands of lives along the way.
In honor of Grigorov’s legacy, his home village of Studen Izvor today houses one of the world’s only museums of yogurt.
Честит Рожден ден, Dr. Grigorov!
Early research including folklore character Kuma Lisa and early concept of the final Doodle below
Sketches by Helene Leroux
You can find more about Dr. Stamen Grigorov’s 142nd Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page