who was this scientist to whom Google pays homage today?

This Wednesday, October 27, Google pays tribute, in a Doodle (presentation of the search engine page), to the chemist and inventor Otto Wichterle, father of the contact lens, who would have been 108 years old today.

Born in 1913 in Prossnitz (now Czech Republic), Otto Witcherle is best known for having created the first soft contact lens, in 1961.

Thanks to his work on plastics and hydrophilic gel, published in 1959, Witcherle succeeded in creating an unprecedented medical device, worn today by millions of people around the world.

An astonishing discovery

With a view to solving the irritation problem experienced by many classic contact lens users, Otto Wichterle wants to revolutionize the contact lens.

He realizes that the contours of the small shell do not perfectly fit the shape of the eyeball.

One morning while stirring his coffee, Otto Wichterle observes the movement of the spoon. He realizes the potential of centrifugal force and wants to transpose it onto his lens. It then modifies the shape of its flexible lens, which becomes perfectly rounded, and associates the hydrogel with it, which prevents irritation.

A committed scientist

Imprisoned by the Gestapo during World War II, he returned to his post as director at the University of Prague after the war. In 1968, to denounce the invasion of the country by Russia, he signed the manifesto “Two Thousand Words” which marked a turning point in the Czechoslovak political crisis. A commitment which earned him to be dismissed from his post as director of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, of which he was the founder.

In 1990, Otto Wichterle was elected president of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. A consecration for a man who will have dedicated his life to science and to human progress.


scientist Google pays homage today

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