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Today's Google Doodle honours Swedish aristocrat and scientist Eva Ekeblad (1724-86) on the 293rd anniversary of her birth.

She came into prominence for her discovery of extraction of flour and alcohol out of potatoes to become the first female member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. She discovered to make flour and alcohols from potatoes.

When she was 16 years old, Ekeblad was married off to Count Claes Claesson Ekeblad.

Ekeblad, a Swedish countess, grew her own batch of potatoes for study. Ekeblad's scientific work helped to prevent starvation in Sweden in the following years.

Her sister-in-law, Catherine Charlotte De La Gardie, was also an interesting character: inventing a smallpox vaccine and intervening to stop Sweden's last witch trial in Dalarna in 1758.

Eva Ekeblad

She had heard that they'd been used in Germany to create alcoholic drinks, so wanted to see what she could discover about them herself. In Sweden the potato was mostly restricted to aristocratic greenhouses and thought of as animal feed.

The innovation reduced the risk of starvation and relieved a awful strain on the rural poor. "She was truly a pioneer - the next woman recognized in those ranks would come 203 years later", Google continued.

The search engine giant commemorated plant scientist Ekeblad's "ingenuity and scientific achievements". She also demonstrated for the first time that potatoes could be converted into flour after they were cooked, crushed and dried up.

No records of her participation in the meetings of the Academy were available, as the statutes confined membership to men.

After falling ill she retreated to the country, spending her final years in Mariedal Castle until her death in 1786.


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