Commemorating the life of seismologist and geophysicist Inge Lehmann, the May 13 animated Google Doodle of a hypnotically glowing inner core between halves of a split Earth can be seen worldwide on the Google homepage.
Denmark-born Lehmann notably discovered the existence of an inner core in the Earth by analyzing the P-waves (primary waves) – the first waves of energy that pass through Earth’s many layers during and after earthquakes. After extensive mapping of earthquakes around the world, she published her theory in 1936, which rocked the world of seismology and permanently changed the way Earth was studied. Aged 104, Lehmann died in 1993.
“Inge used deduction and evidence to discover something unseeable. Today’s doodle sheds light on her powerful but invisible discovery,” commented Google on the moving artwork. “Doodler Kevin Laughlin helps us experience the gift Inge illuminated for the world by revealing it as a glowing orb.”
Remarkably progressive for the late 1800s and early 1900s, Lehmann attended a mixed-gender school. Later forging a career as a pioneering woman of science, Lehmann was surprised and dismayed by the prevailing attitudes towards female scientists. In an interview with science historian Stephen G Brush, Lehmann said of her education, “No difference between the intellect of boys and girls was recognized, a fact that brought some disappointments later in life when I had to recognize that this was not the general attitude.”
During her life, she received many honors and awards, including the Medal of the Seismological Society of America, and the William Bowie Medal from the American Geophysical Union, the latter of which she was the first woman ever to receive.
Lehmann's unusually modern opinions on women in science and groundbreaking findings serve as inspiration for all women with scientific interests.
Image Credit: National Library of Denmark and Copenhagen University Library. CC BY-NC-ND. GIF Credit: Google