The e-mail popped into my inbox this morning. The Google logo had no interactive music, no bouncing balls, no real controversy — but the mystery of the G-labelled peas still beguiled.

The doodled tribute is in honor of the birthday of Gregor Mendel, the so-called father of genetics, born today in 1822. He studied the dominant and recessive traits of thousands of pea plants at a monastary in Vienna during the 19th century. As the Washington Post’s Mike Cavna puts it, “Rare is the monk who gets to be celebrated for passing down his genes.”

It was only after his death that his contributions to science really became known and his findings helped seed the field of modern genetic research.

The doodle is not the only tribute to Mendel over the years. Personally, I think the pea logo is usurped by this so-horrible-its-amazing rap about the pea-loving monk: