As you’re likely familiar by now, the Google Doodle celebrates many things. For the past two years, it was hygiene related, which was understandable considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the two, one of them celebrated a Malaysian-born doctor who effectively invented the modern surgical mask that we wear daily today. This year, the Doodle celebrates another Malaysian. This time, its zoologist Dr Lim Boo Liat.
As Google tells it, the zoologist has lived a storied life. Having never completed formal education thanks to World War II, Lim worked odd jobs to support his family. After the war, in 1947 he applied to be a temporary Lab Assistant at the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) in Kuala Lumpur. He would then be promoted as a permanent Lab Assistant in 1952.
Between 1955 and 1969, he would publish over 80 scientific papers on vertebrates, and was then asked to head the Medical Ecology Division at the IMR. His expertise in the field would see him getting sponsored to get his masters degree at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, without having a formal bachelor’s degree.
Following his master’s degree, Lim would return to head the IMR Medical Ecology Division. He would later get his PhD in Zoology at Universiti Sains Malaysia. Following that, he then became the head of Vector Biology Control Research Unit at the World Health Organization, where he would stay until his retirement in 1987.
In total, Dr Lim Boo Liat has published over 300 papers about mammalogy and parasitology. He also helped found the National Zoo of Malaysia, and in 2003 became the fourth Asian and first Southeast Asian to be awarded an Honorary Membership to the American Society of Mammologists. He even has multiple species of animals named after him, including the Tioman Kukri Snake, which is found exclusively on said island. He passed back in 11 July 2020 at the age of 93.