KUCHING (June 21): Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Dr Lim Boo Liat, a renowned Malaysian zoologist and leading authority on all things related to Malaysia’s biological diversity.
According to Google, Lim helped start Zoo Negara and wrote more than 300 scientific publications about mammalogy and parasitology.
On June 21, 2003, Lim became the first Southeast Asian and fourth Asian to be awarded an Honorary Membership to the American Society of Mammalogists.
While attending high school in Klang, Selangor, Lim frequented the school garden to observe the life of small animals and insects found there.
He was only 16 when World War II came to Malaysia, and had to pause his studies to support his family.
In 1947, after the war, he applied for a temporary lab assistant job at the Institute of Medical Research (IMR).
In 1952, he was promoted as a permanent lab assistant and was involved in a number of scientific expeditions.
Lim conducted research and attended conferences regarding parasitic effects on wildlife behavior.
From 1955 to 1969, he published more than 80 scientific papers on vertebrate animals and was asked to head a newly founded Medical Ecology Division at the IMR.
Seeing his potential and expertise in the field, a few professors from European universities paved the way for him to pursue his Master’s degree, despite his lack of a formal education.
In fact, Lim did not even receive his bachelor’s degree before his sponsorship to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
He returned to Malaysia in 1972 and continued running the Medical Ecology Division, this time as a full-fledged zoologist.
Lim received his PhD in Zoology at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1977 and was invited to help run the Vector Biology Control Research Unit at the World Health Organization.
His contributions to the field of zoology and biodiversity have inspired the next generation of scientists from Malaysia.
From a temporary lab assistant to an honorary member of the American Society of Mammalogists, Lim is a shining example of immense expertise.
He has a number of species of parasites and animals named after him, and is a 2013 recipient of the Merdeka Award.
Lim passed away on July 11, 2020 at the age of 93.