Google Doodle celebrates 100th birth anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk


Google Doodle in memory of Dr. Jonas Salk – the man who developed the polio vaccine.

The latest Google Doodle – October 28, 2014 – honors the memory of a man who was instrumental in gifting the world its first vaccination against the deadly polio virus. The Doodle is a delightful cartoon illustration of Dr. Salk who is surrounded by little children holding a board which reads “THANK YOU, DR. SALK!.”

google doodle jonas salk

Photo Credits

Born in 1914 to Jewish parents in New York, Salk was a virologist par excellence; after having graduated as M.D from the University School of Medicine in New York (1939), Salk begun working as a staff physician at New York city’s Mount Sinai hospital. 

Salk’s work took him to the University of Michigan, where he worked as a fellow on a flu vaccine project commissioned by the US Army.

The first steps towards developing the polio vaccination begun in 1947 when Salk worked at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as a director of the Virus Research Laboratory.  

The very idea that inactivated viruses in the body could work as a viable cure was alien until Salk worked upon it, his work was groundbreaking because it shattered all traditional notions of a vaccination. 

Soon, Falk’s efforts were noticed and he received funding for his research from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis’ Dr. Basil O’Connor. The cure was obviously put through various channels of testing trials, first on monkeys and then actual children who were afflicted by polio at the D.T. Watson Home for Crippled Children. 

Salk’s own family, including his wife and children were also subjected to the vaccine trial. Eventually, no tested patient reacted adversely to the vaccine and in 1954; a full fledged polio vaccination program was put into place. 

On April 12, 1955, the vaccine was finally declared 100% viable for use. 

Jonas Salk’s legacy remains with the world; as off 2013 World Health Organisation Reports, only three countries in world are not polio free – Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Salk did not patent his work, nor did he earn any money out of it – his work remained free and accessible for all those who needed it.