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Google Doodle dishes out a tribute to Petri

Friday's Google Doodle salutes the man who invented the Petri dish. See bacteria. See bacteria grow. Grow bacteria, grow.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The man who discovered how to grow bacteria in a small dish is the subject of the latest Google Doodle.

Julius Petri, who would've turned 161 years old on Friday, May 31, created the laboratory place-setting that bears his name. Working as an assistant to bacteriologist Robert Koch in the 1870s, Petri developed the process of applying bacteria cultures onto a dish to see how they grow. Such a process paved the way for researchers to learn which bacteria were responsible for different diseases.

The interactive Google Doodle simulates how little beasties progress through their formative moments in an actual Petri dish.

Clicking on the Play button among the array of dishes in the doogle triggers a hand that swabs all the dishes with a dose of bacteria. After watching the cultures grow, you can hover over each dish to reveal the source of the bacteria, including a stinky sock, a door knob, a PC keyboard, a dog's tongue, soil near a plant hit by rain, and a sponge.