Friedlieb Runge: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge.

Are you drinking a cup of coffee? Be sure to thank Friedlieb Runge for that burst of energy!

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge is the 19th-century German chemist who discovered caffeine. People had already been drinking coffee for hundreds of years, but Runge was the first person to isolate caffeine and realize that it was the crucial ingredient that made the popular beverage energizing.

Runge is the subject of today’s “Google Doodle.” February 8, 2019, would have been the scientist’s 225 birthday.

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Friedlieb Runge Analyzed Coffee Beans & Discovered Caffeine in 1819

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge Google DoodleNew: Celebrating Steve Irwin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHfcrQjkC3g … Todays Doodle is about Coffee. Google honors the chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge. He was born in 1794 (or 1795 ?) near Hamburg. It#s his 225th birthday. Serendipitously young Friedlieb Ferdinand identifyed the mydriatic (pupil dilating) effects of belladonna (deadly nightshade) extract. In 1819, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge demonstrated his finding to Goethe, who encouraged him to analyse coffee. A few months later, Runge identified caffeine. The doodle shows this “magic” coffee-moment that many people need in the morning. Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge invented the first coal tar dye and a related process for dyeing clothes. He also isolated quinine (against malaria) and considered an originator of paper chromatography – an early technique for separating chemical substances. Happy birthday Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge. Thumbs Up if you like the doodle :-) Music: “Rainbow” by Kevin MacLeod More about Runge: https://goo.gl/si4Br7 (biography, german) Here is what Google wrote about this doodle: "Today’s Doodle celebrates Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, a German analytical chemist whose place in history resulted in large part from an accident followed by a chance encounter. Runge was born outside of Hamburg on this day in 1795. The son of a Lutheran pastor, he expressed interest in chemistry from an early age and began conducting experiments as a teenager. During one such experiment, Runge accidentally splashed a drop of belladonna extract in his eye, taking note of its pupil-dilating effects. Ten years later, while studying under renown chemist and inventor Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner at the University of Jena, Runge was asked to reproduce belladonna’s effects s part of a demonstration for one of Döbereiner’s friends: the writer and polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Impressed by the 25-year-old chemist, Goethe handed Runge a bag of rare coffee beans and suggested he analyze their chemical makeup. Shortly thereafter, Runge isolated the active ingredient we know today as caffeine! After earning his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Runge went on to teach at the University of Breslau until 1831 when he left academia to take a position at a chemical company. During this time, he invented the first coal tar dye and a related process for dyeing clothes. His contributions to the world also include: being one of the first scientists to isolate quinine (a drug used to treat malaria), considered an originator of paper chromatography (an early technique for separating chemical substances), and even devising a method for extracting sugar from beet juice. Here’s to Runge, without whom the pain of forgoing one’s morning cup of coffee might never have had a scientific explanation!" Source: https://www.google.com/doodles/friedlieb-ferdinand-runges-225th-birthday More about Runges biogaphy and works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedlieb_Ferdinand_Runge More about blood (german): https://www.blutwert.net More about my art and paintings: https://www.martin-missfeldt.de #FriedliebFerdinandRunge #GoogleDoodle #Coffee2019-02-07T14:57:27.000Z

Friedlieb Runge isolated and identified caffeine in 1819. His most memorable contribution to science, and to the billions of coffee lovers around the world, can be traced back to an accident that occurred during an experiment.

Runge loved to experiment from the time he was a teenager. According to the American Chemical Society, he was handling the belladonna plant when he inadvertently splashed a drop of the extract in his eye. The result was that his pupils became dilated.

Fast forward to 1819. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a statesman and writer, was visiting Runge’s lab. He asked Runge to demonstrate the effects of belladonna by using it on a cat. Goethe thought the trick was interesting and decided to gift Runge with rare coffee beans. He encouraged Runge to figure out what makes the beans energizing. Runge accepted the challenge and discovered caffeine within just a few months.

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry in Britain, cited by Newsweek, Runge called the compound “kaffein.” The word caffeine “was included in the medical vocabulary in 1823.”


2. Runge Became a Chemistry Professor After Earning His Doctorate

Friedlieb Runge made his caffeine discovery while a student at the University of Jena. The American Chemical Society notes that he was a student of German pharmacist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, who was associated with von Goethe.

Runge next attended the University of Berlin. He earned his doctoral degree in chemistry in 1822.

Runge got a job teaching chemistry. He worked as a professor at the University of Breslau until 1831.


3. Runge Played an Integral Role in Treating Malaria

Friedlieb Runge’s is credited for a major contribution to medicine. Through his experiments with purine chemistry, he isolated quinine, one of the first scientists to do so.

Quinine is a compound used in prescription medications to treat malaria, which can be deadly when not treated immediately. The World Health Organization reports that the number of people dying from malaria each year has decreased significantly since the year 2000, in large part due to prevention and treatment efforts.


4. Runge Created a New Method for Dying Clothes

Friedlieb Runge helped make the world a more colorful place by changing how people dyed their clothes. After leaving his professor job in 1831, he went to work for a chemical factory in Oranienburg, Germany.

While there, he was credited for creating the first coal tar dye. The first color was aniline blue. The American Chemical Society wrote in 2002 that the compounds Runge experimented with “provided the basis for many industries that generate products such as dyes, cosmetics, drugs, paints, and flavorings.”

During this time period, Runge invented paper chromatography. It’s a method of analyzing chemical mixtures and separating different colored chemicals. It’s been widely used as a teaching method.

Runge worked at the factory until 1852, when he was kicked out over a conflict with the owners. He, unfortunately, spent the final 15 years of his life struggling financially and without the means to come up with more scientific breakthroughs. He died in 1867 at the age of 73.


5. Friedlieb Runge Was the Son of a Lutheran Pastor & Grew Up Near Hamburg, Germany

Friedlieb Runge was born in Billwerder, a small town near Hamburg, Germany, on February 8, 1794.

According to Chemistry World, Runge’s father was a Lutheran pastor. His mother died when he was 12. The family reportedly struggled with poverty during the Napoleonic Wars. Runge does not appear to have ever been married. February 8, 2019, would have been his 225 birthday.

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