Jonas Salk happened to be the man who as a research scientist made the Polio vaccine a reality. He did not work alone, but was hailed a hero for all his efforts. Jane Smith writes a wonderfully inclusive book about the Polio epidemics which includes great pictures of some of the Poster Children, FDR who founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, the Polio Pioneers (1954), and even a picture of Elvis getting his Polio shot.
With children dying and being crippled by Polio each summer, there was a great need to develop a safe and effective vaccine. Dr. Salk was so confident in his vaccine that he vaccinated himself, his wife, and his 3 boys.
When the newspaper headlines declared "VICTORY OVER POLIO" it was as if we had won a war. This good news replaced news of hydrogen bomb tests and Supreme Court hearings on school desegregation for a while.