Why are there potatoes on the Google homepage?

Alicia Guzman
July 11, 2017

To mark the 293rd birth anniversary of Eva Ekeblad the giant search engine Google dedicated a special doodle for the Swedish plant scientist.

The latest "Google Doodle" features the companies logo spelled out in peeled potatoes and a small pile of flour.

Ekeland cultivated her own farm of potatoes and initiated investigating, having perceived that in Germany it had been used to produce alcoholic beverages.

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After the death of her husband Count Claes Claesson Ekeblad in 1771, Ekeblad retired to her countryside estates. Ekeblad was the first woman agronomist who discovered how to extract starch from potatoes. She also figured out how to distill them to make vodka. In Sweden the potato was mostly restricted to aristocratic greenhouses and thought of as animal feed. Ekeblad's scientific work helped to prevent starvation in Sweden in the following years.

Thanks to Ekeblad, potatoes helped solve the food crisis in Sweden precipitated by the lack of cereals like barley and oats. She was credited for helping reduce starvation globally because of her findings.

Ekeblad was a scientist whose innovation through research in taking out starch from potatoes to make flour surfaced the way for vodka extraction which is a reason for festivity through Europe. She also discovered a way to bleach cotton and textile with soap.

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Despite her pioneering work, Ekeblad had her Academy membership downgraded to an honorary one in 1751 due to archaic bylaws on gender.

She died on the 15th of May in 1786 in Lidkoping in Sweden.

Her discoveries resulted in her admittance to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1748, aged just 24, the first woman to join.

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