Google Doodle Header featuring MIT Faculty Har Gobind Khorana

Google Doodle honors Har Gobind Khorana on what would have been his 96th birthday

Categories: Faculty, Research

Professor Khorana held a dual appointment in the Departments of Chemistry and Biology from 1970 - 2007.

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018,’s daily Doodle, by Bangalore-based illustrator Rohan Dahotre, honored Har Gobind Khorana, the late Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry Emeritus, on what would have been his 96th birthday.

The Google Doodle

The concept of the Google Doodle originated in 1998, before the company was even incorporated, when Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, tweaked the Google logo to indicate that they were attending the annual Burning Man festival, held in the Nevada desert. In 2000, Page and Brin asked their then-intern, Dennis Hwang (now Google’s webmaster), to design a doodle to elebrate Bastille Day. Today, over 2000 Doodles have been produced for Google’s homepages worldwide.

A group of Googlers get together regularly to brainstorm and decide which events will be celebrated with a doodle. The ideas for the doodles come from numerous sources including Googlers and Google users. The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation.

Professor Har Gobind Khorana

Khorana’s Google Doodle honor was featured in 13 countries in celebration of Khorana’s signifiant contributions to DNA science. Khorana discovered how a DNA’s genetic code determines protein synthesis — which dictates how a cell functions. This pioneering revelation earned Khorana, along with two colleagues, the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.” Following his Nobel honor, Khorana went on to create the world’s first synthetic gene, a “massive leap forward” for the biotechnology sector, and one that has paved the way for current endeavors such as gene editing using CRISPR.

In 1970, Khorana joined the faculty at MIT, where he remained, a beloved and active member of the community, until retiring in 2007. He passed away on November 9, 2011, at the age of 89.