The burning secrets of Robert Bunsen's Google homepage

You can control the flame on Google's Robert Bunsen tribute. Did you figure out how?
The Robert Bunsen Google doodle lets you control the flame's height, which affects the test tubes.

Google doodles are an online institution. Twice or thrice a month, the search engine rolls out a new take on its kindergarten-colored logo. Part history lesson, part charm offensive, these novelty banners remind us – or teach us – of E.C. Segar (the creator of Popeye), H.G. Wells (author of "War of the Worlds"), and today Robert Bunsen (inventor of the Bunsen burner).

But as Google tries to continually one-up itself, the doodles have grown more complex. Isaac Newton gets a falling apple. Jules Verne prompts a voyage into the digital deep. Pac-Man earns a fully interactive game, which you can still play for free, by the way.

Bunsen received an animated doodle, with his namesake burner heating up blue and red liquids. But did you notice that it's also interactive?

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By moving your mouse across the screen, you can control the height and heat of the burner's flame. Move your cursor to the top-right corner of the screen for the tallest, hottest fire. Bottom-left gets you the smallest, coolest flame. This intensity affects the movement and bubbling of each virtual chemical. Pretty clever, Google.

Curious about Robert Bunsen? Check out our brief biography. (Did you know that he helped create atomic clocks and purple fireworks?)

Also, in the comments section below, let us know your favorite Google doodle. Where does Bunsen fit on your list?

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