To those of a certain age, Jonas Salk is an icon. He’s the doctor who in the 1950’s, developed the first successful vaccine for polio; a disease that at its peak afflicted more than a half a million people a year. But as his sons Peter and Jonathan Salk describe here, the late Dr. Salk’s legacy extends far beyond his work in medicine.
Salk was among the first to blend art and science in the architecturally renowned Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which helped spawn a research mecca on the Torrey Pines Mesa in La Jolla. And, as UC San Diego’s Mary Walshok recounts to journalist Gary Robbins, Salk’s 1970 marriage to the French painter and best-selling author Francoise Gilot added a spark of glamour to San Diego’s bourgeoning scientific community.
Hearing these stories today makes it clear just how much one person can change the course of history – both in the region and the world.
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