This Wednesday, Google decided to honor the chemist Otto Wichterle for his 108th birthday.
Although this name is not widely known, the invention of this Czech researcher celebrated in the doodle of the day has revolutionized the lives of many people.
The chemist has indeed developed soft contact lenses as we know them today, reports
Born October 27, 1913, in Prostejov (now Czech Republic), Otto Wichterle refused to follow his father's path, co-owner of several factories, and went to study chemistry in Prague.
Google pays homage to Czech scientist 🇨🇿 Otto Wichterle, born 108 years ago, inventor of contact lenses (photo credit: https://t.co/uOGFKmaXjO and https://t.co/67cevZPNbV) pic.twitter .com / TD3u3tJ7Mu
- Alain Sarhadian (@AlainSarhadian) October 27, 2021
Less irritating lenses
He first worked on plastics and their uses.
In 1941, Otto Wichterle developed the sylon, a competitor of American nylon.
It was only after the Second World War that the scientist devoted himself to ophthalmology, and in particular the hydrogels used on contact lenses.
These were, at the time, irritating to the eye, reports
Otto Wichterle then, with his teams, developed a new compound: hema, which today forms the basis of soft lenses.
The researcher then encountered another problem: the edge of these new lenses was not regular and offered poor hold.
An invention sold abroad
Otto Wichterle found the solution in an original way: by stirring his coffee in December 1961. The researcher observed the centrifugal force in the liquid and decided to apply the same mechanism to his hydrogel, which made it possible to give the correct one. lentil shape.
His first machine would have been created with a construction set belonging to his son.
He would have made four perfect lenses with it.
The scientist unfortunately did not take advantage of his invention.
Despite the rapid filing of a patent, the invention was forcibly recovered by the communist power of the time.
It was then sold abroad.
Otto Wichterle finally died in 1998 without making a fortune.
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