28 October 2014 :: Google has celebrated the 100th birthday of Dr Jonas Salk, the American scientists who developed the first successful polio vaccine, with a Doodle on its homepage.
The heart-warming illustration depicts two children holding up a sign reading “Thank you, Dr Salk!” – a tribute to the virologist’s work against a disease whose main victims were children.
Jonas Salk :: Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed the first successful inactivated polio vaccine. He was born in New York City to Jewish parents. Although they had little formal education, his parents were determined to see their children succeed. While attending New York University School of Medicine, Salk stood out from his peers, not just because of his academic prowess, but because he went into medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician.
Until 1957, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of the post-war United States. Annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. The “public reaction was to a plague,” said historian Bill O’Neal. “Citizens of urban areas were to be terrified every summer when this frightful visitor returned.” According to a 2009 PBS documentary, “Apart from the atomic bomb, America’s greatest fear was polio.” As a result, scientists were in a frantic race to find a way to prevent or cure the disease. U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt was the world’s most recognized victim of the disease and founded the organization, the March of Dimes Foundation, that would fund the development of a vaccine.
Jonas Salk was born in New York City on October 28, 1914. His parents, Daniel and Dora (Press) Salk, were from Jewish immigrant families, and had not received extensive formal education. According to historian David Oshinsky, Salk grew up in the “Jewish immigrant culture” of New York. He had two younger brothers, Herman and Lee, a child psychologist. The family moved from East Harlem to The Bronx, with some time spent in Queens.Jonas Salk died from heart failure at the age of 80 on June 23, 1995, in La Jolla and was buried at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego.
Born October 28, 1914, New York, New York
Died June 23, 1995 (aged 80), La Jolla, California,United States
Residence New York, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, La Jolla, California
Fields Medical research, virology and epidemiology
Institutions University of Pittsburgh, Salk Institute, University of Michigan
Alma mater City College of New York, New York University, University of Michigan
Doctoral advisor Thomas Francis, Jr.
Known for First polio vaccine
Notable awards Lasker Award (1956)
Spouse Donna Lindsay (m. 1939–68), Françoise Gilot (m. 1970–95)