Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Another famous scientist ...

... turns out to be a jerk.

Yes, Jonas Salk developed a vaccine against polio. Yes, it was even a significant innovation, as it was a "killed virus" vaccine rather than a "live virus" vaccine. (Given the spate of cases of polio in the 1980s -- contracted by parents changing the diapers of their babies who received the "live virus" vaccine -- I really am happy that Salk fought to get the go ahead to develop and test his "killed virus" vaccine.)

But, as with most scientific achievements of this sort, Salk didn't do it on his own. He relied on the scientific labors and talents of many others. None of whom, as it turns out, he bothered to mention in the formal announcement that the vaccine was a success. This story from Morning Edition has an interview with one of the overlooked scientific collaborators (who is much more hurt than resentful).

Kinda makes me want to dig Salk up and punch him in the nose.

(I wouldn't actually exhume the body of a dead scientist to punch him in the nose. However, if I were to run into James Watson in a dark alley ...)


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