Google pays tribute to Denmark’s other famous Hans Christian

Author Hans Christian Andersen is one of Denmark’s most famous figures from the 19th century, but can you name another Hans Christian, who left his mark on the world of science?

Google pays tribute to Denmark’s other famous Hans Christian

Visitors to Google’s homepage on Friday will be greeted by a tribute to a 19th-century Danish scientist.

The search engine’s homepage is marking the 166th anniversary of the birth of bacteriologist Hans Christian Gram.

Gram is known as the inventor of the Gram stain, which is to this day a standard technique used in microbiology for classifying bacteria and making them more visible under the microscope.

The Gram-staining method gave rise to the gram-positive and gram-negative classification of bacteria, with colouring having different effects on the cell walls of different types of bacteria.

The method made it easier to identify different types of bacterial infection.

Gram identified the method after gaining his doctorate at the University of Copenhagen and then travelling around Europe—like his literary namesake did earlier in the 19th century—where he learned more about medicine and bacteriology.

He discovered the Gram staining method in a Berlin laboratory in 1884.

On publishing the method, he modestly noted that “I am aware that as yet it is very defective and imperfect; but it is hoped that also in the hands of other investigators it will turn out to be useful,” according to Google.

The Danish scientist died in 1938 at the age of 85.

READ ALSO: Danish Astronomical Society discovers unique Einstein letters

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Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music

The government is to forward a bill on Friday proposing tech giants such as Facebook and Google pay Danish media for using content on their platforms.

Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music
File photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The proposal will also mean platforms used to share media, such as YouTube, will be required to make agreements with rights holders in order to display videos or music, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

A comparable law recently took effect in Australia, resulting in all news pages being temporarily blocked for Facebook users in the southern hemisphere country.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark force Facebook to pay for news content?

“The media plays a central role in our democracy and ensures that public debate takes place on an infrormed basis,”culture minister Joy Mogensen said in the statement.

“If the media are to be able to continue making journalism, they should of course be paid for its use,” she added.

The proposal will provide for rights holders such as musicians or media outlets to be given a new publishing right which will enable them to decide who can use their content.

As such, companies like Facebook and Google will need permission to use the content online.

The Danish proposal builds on an EU directive which gives individual media outlets the right to agree deals with tech giants.

The bill put forward by Mogensen will allow Danish media to make a collective agreement with the tech companies providing for payment when their content is used.

An interest organisation for Danish media companies has backed the proposal.

“We have wanted to be able to enter collective agreements with tech giants because that would strengthen the media companies’ position,” Louise Brincker, CEO of Danske Medier, told newspaper Berlingske. Brincker noted she had not yet read the full proposal.

Media will not be obliged to make agreements with the tech companies, however. Complaints to the Danish copyright board, Ophavsretslicensnævnet, will be possible under the new law, should it be passed by parliament.

The bill will become law on June 7th should it receive the backing of a parliamentary majority.

Both Facebook and Google decline to comment to Berlingske on the matter, stating they had yet to see the bill in full.