Symposium on Jonas Salk focuses on his work in sustainability
October 26, 2014 12:00 AM
Dr. Jonas Salk with Salk polio vaccine at one of several press conferences in Pittsburgh hospital in Oakland.
By Anya Sostek / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Leading thinkers from around the country will gather at the University of Pittsburgh Tuesday for an all-day symposium celebrating the 100th birthday of Jonas Salk.
And for the most part, they won’t be talking about polio.
Rather, the event will focus on sustainability — a topic that Dr. Salk pursued passionately toward the end of his career, though he did not use that term.
Once described as “the father of biophilosophy” by The New York Times, Dr. Salk authored several books concerning the growth of world population and the ecological future of the planet, such as “The Survival of the Wisest” in 1973 and “Man Unfolding” in 1972.
Speakers at the symposium will include New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, CNN “Crossfire” host and former White House green jobs adviser Van Jones and Columbia University economist and best-selling author Jeffrey Sachs.
The “powerful lineup” of speakers is testament to the ongoing admiration for Dr. Salk, who died in 1995. He pursued sustainability after he left Pittsburgh following his discovery of the polio vaccine, and founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego in 1963.
“... All of us are particularly impressed by the idea that this man who saved so many lives could think in the broader sense of sustainability issues for our planet,” said Bernard Goldstein, professor emeritus in public health at the University of Pittsburgh and an organizer of the symposium.
Dr. Salk’s son, Peter Salk, who is president of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, will also speak at the symposium. Other speakers include John Dernbach, professor at the Widener School of Law, Karen Feinstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and Allison Robinson, director of environmental initiatives for UPMC.
The Symposium will be held in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, although the public is asked to register in advance.
A detailed itinerary and registration information can be found at publichealth.pitt.edu/salk.
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