Jonas Salk

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Date of Birth October 28, 1914
Place of Birth New York City, New York
Date of Death Jun 23, 1995 (80)
Horoscope Scorpio

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Jonas Salk

Jonas Edward Salk was an American physician, medical researcher and virologist who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. He was born in New York City and attended the City College of New York and New York University School of Medicine, later choosing to do medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician. He began an internship as a physician scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City in 1939. Two years later, he was granted a fellowship at the University of Michigan where he studied flu viruses with his mentor Thomas Francis Jr. Polio was considered one of the most frightening public health problems in the world until 1955 when the Salk vaccine was introduced, and epidemics were increasingly devastating in the post-war United States. The 1952 U.S. epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history, as 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, most of its victims being children.

Born: Jonas Salk, October 28, 1914, New York City, U.S.
Died: June 23, 1995, La Jolla, California, U.S.
Resting place: El Camino Memorial Park, San Diego, California
Residence: New York, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, La Jolla, California
Nationality: American
Fields: Medical research, virology, and epidemiology
Institutions: University of Pittsburgh, Salk Institute, University of Michigan
Alma mater: City College of New York (BS), New York University (MD), University of Michigan
Known for: First polio vaccine
Notable awards: Lasker Award (1956)

About Jonas Salk

Jewish medical researcher and virologist who developed a vaccine against polio in 1955. He never attempted to patent his vaccine and thus made no money off of it. In 1960 he founded he Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California and he spent his last years attempting to find a cure to HIV.

Before Fame

He attended Townsend Harris High School for intellectually gifted students, which aimed to graduate students in three years rather than four. After graduating, he attended CCNY.


Before he discovered the vaccine for polio, it was considered the most frightening public health problem in the United States. In 1952, 21,269 patients were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

Family Life

He was married to his second wife Françoise Gilot from 1970 until his death in 1995. He had five sons and one daughter.


He developed the first effective vaccine for polio, a disease which most notably affected President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Information related to Jonas Salk

  • Lee Salk - Lee Salk was a child psychologist and author who is credited with discovering the calming effect the sound of a heartbeat has on infants.
  • Jewish humanists
  • Scientists from Pittsburgh
  • Vaccinologists
  • Townsend Harris High School alumni
  • Burials in California
  • Recipients of the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award
  • New York University School of Medicine alumni
  • American humanists
  • American epidemiologists
  • American virologists
  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • History of medicine
  • Scientists from New York City
  • Congressional Gold Medal recipients
  • American medical researchers
  • University of Pittsburgh faculty
  • 20th-century American physicians
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
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Latest information about Jonas Salk updated on October 30, 2020.

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