Who was Casimir Funk? Google Doodle celebrates biochemist's 140th birthday


Today, (February 23) Google Doodle has commemorated the 140th birthday of biochemist Casimir Funk.

The Polish-American’s contributions to the human health are endless, from introducing the concept of vitamins to revealing essential nutrients needed for the human health.

Google has picked today for the tribute as his birthday falls on February 23, 1884.

But who was Funk exactly and what did he do?

Who was Casimir Funk?

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Funk was one of the pioneers in identifying and presenting the notion of vitamins and vital nutrients that are needed for maintaining human health.

After completing his high school education, Casimir Funk left his native Poland to pursue studies in biology and chemistry in Switzerland.

He started working at different research institutions across Europe at the age of 20 after receiving his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Bern.

Funk became interested in the ways that food elements affected a variety of diseases, including rickets, pellagra, scurvy, and cancer. Funk worked with thiamine (B1), a chemical that he turned into tiny, edible crystals that aided in the development and operation of different types of cells in 1911.

The Latin terms viva, which means "life" and amine, which refers to a chemical substance with an amino group, inspired him to name his invention vitamines. Later, the word was abbreviated to vitamin.Funk moved to New York City in 1915, and in 1920 he received his American citizenship. Following this, he held research posts at US universities for several years before joining the US Vitamin Corporation as a consultant.

The Polish-born finished his career off with a book called Die Vitamine, exposing all his findings over his career.

On top of all his vitamin discoveries, Funk also studied the biochemistry of peptic ulcers, diabetes, and hormones.

He passed away on November 19, 1967 in Albany, New York, at the age of 83.