10 March: Tribute to Wilbur Scoville
Image Courtesy: Google Doodle
Wilbur Scoville ( 22 January 1865 – 10 March 1942) was an American pharmacist best known for creating the “Scoville Organoleptic Test” in 1912, which is used to measure the heat (or “pungency”) of chili peppers and other spicy foods.
Life and Career
He was born on 22 January 1865 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and graduated from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan in 1888. He worked as a pharmacist for several years before becoming a researcher at Parke-Davis, a pharmaceutical company. While at Parke-Davis, he developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test, which measures the heat of chili peppers by diluting a pepper extract until the “heat” is no longer detectable by a panel of tasters.
He retired from Parke-Davis in 1935; passed away on 10 March 1942 at the age of 77 in Gainesville, Florida.
Award and Legacy
his legacy lives on in the form of the test that bears his name, which is still widely used to measure the heat of chili peppers and other spicy foods. The Scoville scale, as it is commonly known, is used by spice manufacturers, chefs, and food scientists to determine the heat level of peppers and to create consistent heat levels in food products.
His legacy is also remembered through the Scoville Memorial Library, which is a special collection of materials related to the history of pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. The library is located at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan, where Scoville graduated.
Finally, The Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) is the unit of measurement of the spiciness of chili peppers and other spicy foods. It is based on the Scoville Organoleptic Test, which was developed by Wilbur Scoville.
On 22 January 2016, Google Doodle celebrated Wilbur Scoville’s 151st Birthday.