Google Doodle celebrates pioneering doctor Jonas Salk

A Google Doodle honors the 100th birthday of Jonas Salk, an American scientist best known for his polio vaccine.

Google celebrated Jonas Salks 100th birthday with a Doodle.

In Tuesday's Google Doodle, a man in a white lab coat stands in the middle of a block party. Kids play on a sidewalk, parents show their appreciation for the bespectacled man, and two children hold up a sign saying, "Thank you, Dr. Salk!"

This illustration celebrates the 100th birthday of Jonas Salk, an American physician and medical researcher who is best known for developing the polio vaccine. Dr. Salk's work is credited with dramatically reducing the number of people diagnosed with the disease. 

Salk was born October 28, 1914, in New York City to poor Russian-Jewish immigrants. His father worked in New York's garment district, earning just enough money to support his family. Salk did well in school and was accepted to Townsend Harris High School, a school for exceptionally bright students. At the age of 15, Salk enrolled at the City College of New York, becoming the first person in his family to attend college. 

After working on a vaccine for the flu, Salk moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1947 to become head of the school's Virus Research Lab. That's where he began researching a cure for polio.

Salk began national testing of his polio vaccine in 1954. At the time, there were 57,000 diagnosed cases of polio in the United States. A few years later, the annual number of cases dropped to only a dozen. Salk quickly became a national hero. An opinion poll from the 1950s found him ranked between Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi as revered figures of modern history. 

Salk didn't patent his work and never made any money off of the vaccine. But in 1977, President Jimmy Carter awarded both Salk and Martin Luther King Jr. with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their work. The French government inducted Salk into the Legion of Honor, one of the country's most prestigious awards. Salk was also awarded honorary degrees from universities in the United States, Britain, Israel, Italy, and in the Philippines.

In 1970, Salk married Francoise Gilot, a French painter and muse to Pablo Picasso. It is said that she influenced Salk's interest in painting and writing poetry. 

Salk died in 1995, but his work and ideals remain with us today. One of Salk's quotes, which is memorialized at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif, represents the heart of his vision: "Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Google Doodle celebrates pioneering doctor Jonas Salk
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today