Feb. 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM ET
Today's Google doodle is a birthday tribute to Heinrich Rudolph Hertz, the pioneer whose discovery of electricity transmission via electromagnetic waves led to the inventions of wireless telegraph and radio and the beginning of modern communication.
Clicking on the Google homepage will bring you to the animated gif, which shows a continuously moving, colorful wavy line. Hertz, who was born in 1857, proved the existence of electromagnetic waves moving at the speed of light, transmitting and receiving radio pulses through his experiments and confirming the calculations of James Clark Maxwell, who predicted radio waves. This confirmation paved the way for generations of scientists and inventors who would explore, in-depth: x-rays, radio, television and radar.
Hertz succumbed to a vascular disease at age 36, but his surname lives on in the lower-case form to measure frequency, or the number of times an event repeats per second.
The doodle's creator, the San Francisco Bay area-based animator Sophia Foster-Dimino, told The Washington Post's Michael Cavna that her team consulted with an internal mailing list of Google's science enthusiasts in coming up with the design.
It's already been a busy year for doodlers, who have cranked out creative interpretations commemorating the birthdays of Charles Addams, Federico Fellini and Charles Dickens. Doodles have also celebrated Chinese new year, Valentine's Day and most recently, Carnival. There has even been an illustration of the "world's largest snowflake."
On Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the Google+ stream.