Jonas Salk

V. Nguyen May 2016

Early Life / Education

Early Life

Jonas Salk was born in New York on October 28, 1914. At a young age he was a gifted student. He graduated high school at the age of 15! With the help of scholarship, he got to go to college. According to, Jonas Salk had actually learned to be a lawyer before changing his mind to be a doctor! In 1934 Jonas he earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry at City College of New York, now known as City University of New York.


In 1939 Jonas has earned his doctorate in medicine from New York University’s College of Medicine. There he worked with Thomas Francis Jr., on killed virus immunology. According to, Jonas wasn’t just a physician but was also a researcher! Jonas had join a group working on a vaccine against the influenza in 1942. He became a professor of bacteriology at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine. At that time he wasn’t just a professor only, but was also the head of the Virus Research Laboratory. There he started working on a vaccine against polio.


Back then polio was a disease that cause other to be lose control of their leg and lung. This sickness mainly happen to children than adult. According to, on the first trial, Jonas first tested the vaccine on monkeys, his family, and 160 other peoples. Sadly out of the 160 people, some died! First trial = fail. Jonas went back and found his mistake. On April 12,1955 it was declared safe and effective . Second trial= safe.


Today we honor Jonas Salk for his vaccine that had helped many around the world. We thank Jonas Salk for creating a vaccine for polio. He didn’t just helped us by creating a vaccine for polio but he had another success on the influenza in 1953. According to, polio has been wipe out ALMOST everywhere, but unfortunately there is still a small percentage of polio somewhere out there. On January 27,1956 Jonas received a gold medal from president Eisenhower and in 1977 Jonas Salk was rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jonas died in La Jolla, California on June 23, 1995

Fun Facts

  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got polio at age 39 in August of 1921


  • “Jonas Salk." Britannica School. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2016. Web. April 2016.

  • “Jonas Salk” PebbleGo. April 2016.

  • Ed. Laura B. Tyler. "Salk, Jonas." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 9. Detroit: UXL, 2003. 1667-1669. Web. April.2016.