|Was||Scientist Biologist Microbiologist|
|From||Germany United States of America|
|Birth||22 June 1850, New York City, New York, USA|
|Death||1 December 1934, Dresden, Dresden Directorate District, Saxony, Germany (aged 84 years)|
Fanny Hesse (Born Angelina Fanny Elishemius, June 22, 1850 – December 1, 1934) is best known for her work in microbiology alongside her husband, Walther Hesse. Together they were instrumental in developing Agar as a medium for culturing microorganisms.
Fanny Hesse was born on June 22, 1850, in New York City to Gottfried Elishemius, a wealthy import merchant, and his wife, Ceclie Elise. She met her husband and research partner Walther Hesse in 1872 while in Germany. They were engaged in 1873, and married in 1874 in Geneva.
In 1881, while working for her husband as a technician in the laboratory of German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch, Hesse suggested that agar was preferable to gelatin for cultivating bacteria. This led to Koch using agar to cultivate the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.
Prior to her discovery, Hesse, working unpaid, would make drawings for her husband's publications. While Koch, in an 1882 paper on tuberculosis bacilli, mentioned he used agar instead of gelatin, he did not credit Fanny or Walther Hesse, or mention why he made the switch. Fanny Hesse's suggestion never resulted in financial benefit for the Hesse family.