Google Doodle Honors Dr. Wu Lien-teh, Creator of the Surgical Mask

Google on Wednesday is honoring Dr. Wu Lien-teh, a Chinese-Malaysian epidemiologist who created a surgical face covering widely believed to be the forerunner of today’s N95 mask. To celebrate this achievement, Google dedicated its Doodle to Wu on the doctor’s 142nd birthday.

After becoming the first student of Chinese descent to study at Cambridge University, Wu went to work for the Chinese government, becoming vice director of the Army Medical College in 1908. When a highly lethal epidemic broke out in northwestern China in 1910, Wu was tasked by the government with investigating the disease, which he determined to be a highly contagious pneumonic plague.

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