NEW DELHI: Have you ever heard of Otto Wichterle or do you know who invented the soft contact lenses? Wichterle was a Czech chemist who is credited for inventing the modern soft contact lens.
On Wednesday, the global search engine Google is celebrating the 108th birthday of Otto Wichterle, the renowned Czech chemist, whose invention changed the lives of millions of people around the world.
Did you know that the modern contact lens was invented by the #Czech chemist #OttoWichterle? By late 1961 he succeeded in producing the first four #hydrogel contact lenses on a homemade apparatus assembled out of a children’s building kit (#Merkur). pic.twitter.com/hH3HngIKiJ
— Czech MFA (@CzechMFA) June 9, 2020
Paying tribute to the Czech chemist, Google has dedicated a unique Doodle to Witchterle, which shows him holding up a single piece of contact lens upon his fingertips, while the light is reflected to form the Google logo in the background.
Wichterle who was born in 1913 in Prostejov, the Czech Republic (then Austria-Hungary), 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.
In 1961, Wichterle, who used to wear glasses for vision correction, 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.
He was also the inventor of countless patents and a lifelong researcher. Wichterle was elected the first President of the Academy of the Czech Republic following the country’s establishment in 1993. Today, around 140 million people across the world use the modern soft contact lens for their eyesight needs.
Several Twitter users also took the opportunity to pay their tributes to the great Czech chemist on the occasion of his 108th birthday.