Jonas Salk

Essay by h3adShotHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2008

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Jonas Salk

Jonas Salk was one of the most eminent figures in the field of medicine. Jonas Salk discovered the vaccine to poliomyelitis, more commonly referred to as polio. The potential of this viral disease was unbelievable and incomparable to any other disease in the 1950s. Polio was introduced in the United States in the early 1920s when it struck the United States President himself, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Polio is infamously known for crippling or paralyzing the individual. During the 1950s, parents became very worried about the safety of their children due to the widespread polio virus. Polio reached its peak in 1952 when it became responsible for the lives of over three thousand victims. However, Jonas Salk managed to lift the burden of fear from the worried individuals with his development of the polio vaccine. Little did Salk know, his vaccine would set the path for some of history's greatest medical discoveries.

Salk was born in New York City on October 28, 1914 to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Unfortunately, his family was impoverished, so Salk didn't grow up with an excellent education until college. However, his persistency and his strong determination to succeed assisted him in attending outstanding schools such as the NY Medical College. Interestingly enough, Salk never wanted to be involved in the field of medicine. Salk was intrigued by human nature and the human mind. His mother wanted him to become a lawyer, but an outside interference caused Salk to look somewhere else. This interference was an opportunity to teach and study at a very gifted medical school. Salk immediately changed from a pre-law student to a pre-med student. Salk majored in biochemistry during his first few years at medical school.

Without a doubt, Salk is remembered in history as an extremely generous individual with...