Google is celebrating 216th birthday of British botanist Anna Atkins by decorating its home page with a beautiful blue doodle.
Atkins is known for her use of cyanotypes – or ‘sunprints’ – of plants and algae in botanical studies which paved the way for the use of photography in scientific publishing. The doodle as seen in the picture above is a version of her photographic images and it reflects her famous cyanotype process.
The delicate leaves used to spell out the name of the search engine are slate blue against a darker blue background. This effect is due to the cyanotype process, which involves the exposure of a mix of ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide to ultraviolet light, leaving the paper so-called Prussian blue.
Born in Tunbridge, Kent, England in 1799, she had a keen interest in botany. Later she discovered photography as a means to document botanical specimens for a scientific reference book, entitled ‘British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions’. This book subsequently became considered to be the first book to demonstrate light-senstive materials in a publication.
She died on 9 June 1871 in Halstead, UK.