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Otto Wichterle: Google Doodle celebrates Czech soft contact lens inventor’s 108th birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 108th birthday of Czech chemist and inventor Otto Wichterle, most popular for his invention of modern soft contact lenses, on October 27, 2021.

Who was Otto Wichterle?

Otto Wichterle
Otto Wichterle

Otto Wichterle was born on October 27, 1913 in Prostĕjov, the Czech Republic (then Austria-Hungary).

In the wake of completing secondary school (the present Wolker Grammar School) in Prostějov, Otto Wichterle started to learn at the Chemical and Technological Faculty of the Czech Technical University (presently the independent University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague) yet he was additionally interested in medicine. He graduated in 1936 and remained at the university.

In 1941, Otto Wichterle’s team produced the procedure to throw and spool polyamide thread in this manner making the first Czechoslovak synthetic fiber under the name silon (the invention came independently of the first American nylon technique in 1938).

After World War II, Otto Wichterle got back to the university, specializing in organic chemistry, and was active in teaching general and inorganic chemistry. He composed an inorganic chemistry textbook, the concept of which was somewhat radical, and furthermore wrote a German and Czech organic chemistry textbook.

In 1949, Otto Wichterle extended his second doctorate with the technology of plastics and dedicated himself completely to the foundation of a new department of plastics technology. In 1952 he was made the dean of the newly established Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague.

In 1957, Otto Wichterle produced around 100 soft lenses. The issue was that the edges tore when the lens was getting removed. He needed to track down a superior way of making them. Lamentably, he had to leave the Institute of Chemical Technology as a result of its Communist leadership in 1958.

By late 196, Otto Wichterle produced the first four hydrogel contact lenses on a home-made apparatus worked from children’s building kit (Merkur). All the glass tubing was likewise made without help from anyone else. On Christmas afternoon he at last made a contact lens in his apparatus. He tried the lenses in his own eyes.

Otto Wichterle was notable from all around the world due to his accomplishments as well as in view of his activities in international associations. He is the author of an enormous number of studies. He is the creator or co-author of around 180 patents and of over 200 publications.

In 1970, Otto Wichterle was expelled again from his position in the organization, this time for signing “The Two Thousand Words” . Full acknowledgment didn’t come until the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

In 1990, he was made president of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and was the honorary president of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic after that.

The asteroid number 3899 was named after Otto Wichterle in 1993. Besides, a secondary school in Ostrava (in the region of Poruba) in the Czech Republic was named after him on September 1, 2006.

While Otto Wichterle is most notable as the inventor of contact lenses, his innovations likewise established the system for best in class medical technologies, for example, “smart” biomaterials, which are used to restore human connective tissues, and bio-recognizable polymers, which have enlivened a new norm for drug administration.

On October 27, 2021, Google featured a Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Otto Wichterle’s 108th Birthday.

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