Could You Patent the Sun?: Celebrating Jonas Salk

Photo Credit: New York Times

Today we celebrate determination, innovation, and humanitarianism. Sixty-two years ago, Doctor Jonas Salk released the polio vaccine to the public. From 1947 and until its release, Salk worked relentlessly to create an easy to distribute solution to an epidemic plaguing the world’s youth.

In 1952 in the United States alone there were more than 57,000 cases of polio (also known as infantile paralysis). Salk’s vaccine eliminated Polio in the United States and in many places around the world. This would have not been possible if it weren’t for Salk’s explicit wish to make the vaccine available for public use. He never sought out a patent nor sold a patent for the vaccine, stating, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

It’s today that we celebrate the birth of a cure and the selflessness of an individual eager to better the world around him.