Scientist Peter L. Salk M.D. introduced a film about the polio vaccine his father, Dr. Jonas Salk, developed during a Jan. 16 talk in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center. The talk and screening of the documentary film, “The Shot Felt ‘Round the World,” was attended by community members and the student Fellows of the Center for Science and Common Good.
The event was a program of The Center for Science and the Common Good at Ursinus College, which provides opportunities for all Ursinus students to consider the impact of science on the common good and to learn to better communicate scientific research to the public. It is funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Salk is the President of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation in La Jolla, Calif. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 1965 and Alpha Omega Alpha from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1969. Following two years of training in internal medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, he worked in his father’s laboratory at the Salk Institute from 1972-1984 conducting research on immunotherapy of cancer, autoimmune disease and strategies for vaccine production. He worked again with his father from 1991-1995 on a project to develop an inactivated vaccine for HIV infection, and subsequently worked on the introduction of AIDS treatment programs in Africa and Asia.
As President of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, he is currently devoting attention to the various aspects of his father’s legacy and is actively addressing present and future challenges to global health and wellness.
The documentary film, directed by Tjardus Greidanus, tells one of the great stories of 20thcentury health and medicine. The powerful and moving portrayal of the lives lost or hurt by polio and by the nation’s determined effort to defeat the disease follows Jonas Salk as he develops a vaccine against polio in 1955. The film reveals the spirit of cooperation which spurred the development of the Salk polio vaccine and offers it as a model for solving contemporary problems.