Jonas Edward Salk, 28 Oct 1914 - 23 Jun 1995 Search this
Gelatin silver print
Image: 23.1 x 34.6cm (9 1/8 x 13 5/8")
Sheet: 27.8 x 35.3cm (10 15/16 x 13 7/8")
Mat: 55.9 x 71.1cm (22 x 28")
United States\California\San Diego\San Diego\La Jolla
Pictured at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which he opened in 1963, Jonas Salk built his career on developing vaccines for influenza and polio. In the early 1940s, Salk and Thomas Francis Jr. revolutionized immunology with their killed-virus vaccine for influenza, which produced the protective antibodies without exposing recipients to the live virus of the disease itself. In 1947 Salk turned to producing a vaccine for polio, a viral infection capable of crippling or killing, especially young children. With the support from what is now the March of Dimes, Salk initiated experiments with killed-virus vaccines, reporting successful results in 1953. By 1955 the efficacy of the vaccine was clear, and it radically diminished the impact of polio in less than a decade. Unwilling to claim a patent, Salk asked rhetorically, "Could you patent the sun?"