Academics, Coronavirus, Current Events, Diseases and Disabilities, Notable Taiwan Guest, Podcast, Taiwan, Taiwan News

Dr. Peter Tsai N95 Mask Inventor Helps to Fight Covid-19 Ep 101

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

In part two of my interview part two with Dr. Peter Tsai, he talks about how he was called out of retirement to help address the shortage and demand for N95 masks with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Tsai is the Taiwanese American inventor of the N95 mask technology who has come out of retirement to figure out how to sterilize N95s for reuse, and to help scale up production of the masks.


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:


  • How Dr. Tsai was contacted and came out of retirement because of the demand and shortage of N95 masks
  • How he tested whether or not N95 masks could be sterilized
  • The shelf life of N95 masks
  • The experiments that Dr. Tsai conducted to determine how to sterilize N95 masks so that they could be reused
  • COVID-19 can survive for 28 days on smooth surfaces
  • If N95 masks get wet, submerged in water, or come into high humidity it won’t have charge decay, however if washed with soap and water N-95 masks will lose their effectiveness
  • The stories of how people found Dr. Tsai
  • How Dr. Tsai has worked harder than he did before retiring
  • Dr. Tsai’s relationship with Oak Ridge Labs, and how he was able to help them scale up their production of N95 masks
  • Why there’s been a shortage of N95 masks
  • How he’s been nicknamed the “screwdriver professor”
  • Research-oriented vs. industry-oriented science
  • Why Dr. Tsai decided to come out of retirement to work on N95 technology and what’s next


Related Links: article about Dr. Peter Tsai, “Our Dad Invented the N95 Mask: Our Taiwanese American Story”:


Washington Post article about Dr. Peter Tsai, “The retired inventor of N95 masks is back at work, mostly for free, to fight covid-19”:


NBC News article about Dr. Peter Tsai, “Taiwanese immigrant who invented N95 mask on working amid COVID-19 racism”:


CNN News article about Dr. Peter Tsai, “He invented the N95 mask filter. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and he was called to help once again”:


About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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