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petri dish

This page is about the eponym petri dish

Meaning: a small, circular culture dish with a tight-fitting lid, made of glass or plastic. It is used for collecting cells or specimens and maintaining a sterile environment during an experiment.

For example:

  • Each biology student will need a petri dish for the experiment.

  • The biologist observed the micro-organisms in the petri dish to see if there were any changes.

Origin: Julius R Petri (1852-1921) was a German bacteriologist who developed the petri dish in order to create a sterile environment for his experiments. Petri worked with Robert Koch, the Nobel prize winner who specialized in the study of tuberculosis.

Quick Quiz:

Where would you most likely find a petri dish?

a. in a dissected animal

b. in a household dishwasher

c. in a science laboratory

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Contributor: Tara Benwell