Updated: October 27, 2021 9:48:18 am
Google doodle today: Google on Wednesday paid celebrated the 108th birthday of Czech chemist Otto Wichterle with a doodle. Wichterle is known to have invented the modern soft contact lens – now used by an estimated 140 million people around the world for their eyesight needs.
The doodle shows Otto Wichterle holding up a single piece of contact lens upon his fingertips, while the light is reflected to form the Google logo in the background, as representative of eyesight.
Born in 1913 in Prostejov, the Czech Republic (then, Austria-Hungary), Wichterle earned his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1936 from the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT). He taught as a professor at his alma mater during the 1950s while developing an absorbent and transparent gel for eye implants.
Political turmoil pushed Wichterle out of the ICT, leading him to continue refining his hydrogel development at home. In 1961, Wichterle (a glasses wearer himself) produced the first soft contact lenses with a DIY apparatus made of a child’s erector set, a bicycle light battery, a phonograph motor, and homemade glass tubing and molds. Wichterle was elected the first President of the Academy of the Czech Republic following the country’s establishment in 1993.
While Wichterle is most well-known as the inventor of contact lenses, his innovations also laid the foundation for state-of-the-art medical technologies such as “smart” biomaterials, which are used to restore human connective tissues, and bio-recognizable polymers, which have inspired a new standard for drug administration.
“Happy birthday, Otto Wichterle—thanks for helping the world see eye to eye!” Google wrote in its message.
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