What Was Dr. Jonas Salk's Personal Life Like?


Quick Answer

Doctor Jonas Salk, developer of the first polio vaccine, was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City. His parents, Daniel and Dora Salk, were immigrants from Poland.

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What Was Dr. Jonas Salk's Personal Life Like?
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Full Answer

Jonas Salk was the first person in his family to attend college. He initially went to college to study law but became intrigued by medicine. Once Salk graduated from City College of New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, he enrolled in New York University to study medicine. It was during his studies at New York University that he met his first wife, Donna Lindsay.

Donna was the daughter of a wealthy dentist, Elmer Lindsay, and he was unimpressed by Jonas Salk. Elmer required them to wait until Jonas was officially a doctor before they could be married, and he also made Jonas give himself a middle name to improve his status. Jonas and Donna were married the day after he graduated from New York University in 1939. Their three children were named Peter, Darrell and Jonathan.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out, and they divorced in 1968. In 1969, Salk met Francoise Gilot through mutual friends. Salk and Gilot married shortly after in 1970, and they remained married until Salk's death in 1995.

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