Today’s Google logo pays tribute to Jonas Salk. Best known as the man who discovered the vaccine for polio, Salk was born and grew up in New York City.
After studying chemistry during his under-grad years, Salk took on virology research while a graduate student at NYU, and later, University of Michigan.
In 1948, he began studying the polio virus as part of a project funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Seven years into his research, Salk and his elaborate team of medical researchers introduced the polio vaccine to the public on April 12, 1955.
At the height of the polio epidemic during the early part of the twentieth century, nearly 58,000 cases were reported in the U.S. In 1952, 3,145 victims died from the disease and more than 20,000 were left paralyzed by it.
Salk’s discovery secured his status as a national hero, saving children for year’s to come from the debilitating – and often fatal – effects of the polio virus.
Google’s logo thanks Salk with an illustration depicting the virologist surrounded by polio-free children running, playing and riding bikes.
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