Google Doodle Celebrates 216th Birthday of English Botanist Anna Atkins

| March 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

Google Doodle Celebrates 216th Birthday of English Botanist Anna Atkins. It features images of leaves to remind us the innovative contribution of Anna Atkins to photography. The delicate leaves used to spell out the name of the search engine are slate blue against a darker blue background. This 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.

Anna Atkins used a version of “sun-printing” to create a book of photographed botanical specimens. Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions was self-published in 1843, and she is often considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. While some sources claim that she was the first woman to create a photograph. Through her career, Atkins collected hundreds of specimens and in 1865 she donated her entire collection to the British Museum.

Anna Atkins

Anna Atkins, a British botanist whose use of cyanotypes – or ‘sunprints’ – of plants and algae in botanical studies paved the way for the use of photography in scientific publishing.

Anna Atkins was born in Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom in 1799. Her mother Hester Anne Children didn’t recover from the effects of childbirth and died in 1800. She became close to her father John George Children, a scientist of many interests. He was honored by having the mineral childrenite and the Children’s python, Antaresia childreni, named after him. Anna received an unusually scientific education for a woman of her time. Her detailed engravings of shells were used to illustrate her father’s translation of Lamarck’s Genera of Shells, published in 1823.

Anna Atkins Photograms. In 1825 she married John Pelly Atkins, a London West India merchant, and they moved to Halstead Place, the Atkins family home in Sevenoaks, Kent. They had no children. Atkins pursued her interests in botany, by collecting dried plants. These were probably used as photograms later.

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