The newest animated Google Doodle pays tribute to Inge Lehmann, a Danish seismologist who discovered that Earth has an inner and outer core.
The doodle, dedicated to Lehmann on what would have been her 127th birthday, shows Earth split in two, revealing its shining inner core.
Born in Copenhagen in 1888 to an accomplished family, Lehmann once described herself as “the only Danish seismologist”, having pursued her field in a country that does not have earthquakes.
She made her breakthrough discovery after a large earthquake near New Zealand in 1929. Lehmann studied the shock waves and discovered that seismic waves known as P-waves bounced off a boundary at the core and could be detected on the other side of Earth.
She hypothesized that the inner core was made up a solid inner core encircled by a liquid outer core. The separation between the two became known as the Lehmann Discontinuity.
Although she is best known for her core discovery, Lehmann was also a trailblazer for women in science. Annoyed by the male-dominated scientific community of the day, she once lamented her frustrations to her nephew Niles Groes.
“You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with—in vain,” she told him.
Lehmann died in Copenhagen in February 1993.
Inge Lehmann. Photo: Public Domain