Wilder Penfield Google doodle spotlights neurosurgeon once considered the ‘Greatest Living Canadian’


Google is putting a spotlight on Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield by giving him a doodle on its home page in the US, Canada and a handful of other countries. Today would have been Penfield’s 127th birthday.

Once named the “Greatest Living Canadian,” Penfield’s brain-mapping research led to groundbreaking advancements in the treatment of epilepsy. He was Montreal’s first neurosurgeon, and in 1934, he founded the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Google’s doodle honoring the surgeon includes an illustration of Penfield and highlights his research on how smells could impact memory-recall. From the Google Doodle blog:

By 1950, he experimented with using electrical probes to treat seizure activity in the brain while a patient was fully awake. This surgery, called the Montreal Procedure, led to a greater discovery: stimulating certain physical parts of the brain could evoke memory recall, like the smell of burnt toast.

The doodle leads to a search for “Wilder Penfield” and includes a sharing icon so that you can post the animated image on social pages and send via email.

Google says Penfield studied medicine because it was, “… the best way to make the world a better place.” Later in his career, the neurosurgeon penned a number of books covering his research on brain mechanisms and epilepsy treatments. In 1977, he wrote his memoir, “No Man Alone: A Neurosurgeon’s Life.”

He was also inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and was awarded the Lister Medal for surgical science in 1960.


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