The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California

Out & About

Many decades ago my mom took us kids down to the courthouse to get the latest polio vaccine. I remember it well because it didn’t involve a needle. In fact, the vaccine came via a sugar cube, and as an 8-year-old child, the lack of needles and someone giving me a sugar cube was pretty cool.

What we had received was an oral polio vaccine developed by Albert Sabin in the late 1950s. It underwent human trials in 1957, was selected by the U.S. National Institute of Health as the polio vaccine of preference, and licensed in 1962.

The first widely available polio vaccine, an “inactivated poliovirus vaccine,” was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk while at the University of Pittsburgh. After two doses, 90% of the people develop protective antibodies to all three types of poliovirus. After three doses, that increases to 99%. Sadly, it is given by injection, which involves needles…….

In 1960, Salk founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, a suburban neighborhood of the City of San Diego, about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute is an international center for medical and scientific research. Architects and those who know architecture rave about the Salk Institute campus. Personally, I find the architecture dull, boring, and uninteresting, verging on flat-out ugly. But what do I know?

Here are some pictures of the Salk Institute campus:

img_3091 salk institute stamp img_3087 salk institute stamp img_3078 salk institute stamp img_3097 salk institute stamp img_3095 salk institute stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute consistently ranks among the top institutions in the United States in terms of research output and quality in the life sciences. In 2004, the Times Higher Education Supplement ranked Salk as the world’s top biomedicine research institute, and in 2009 it was ranked number one globally by ScienceWatch in the neuroscience and behavior areas.

The institute employs 850 researchers in 60 research groups and focuses its research in molecular biology and genetics, neurosciences, and plant biology.

The campus was designed by Louis Kahn. According to Wikipedia sources, “Kahn created a style that was monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings for the most part do not hide their weight, their materials, or the way they are assembled. Louis Kahn’s works are considered as monumental beyond modernism. Famous for his meticulously built works, his provocative proposals that remained unbuilt, and his teaching, Kahn was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.” Suffice to say that he and his style are not among my favorites.

The original buildings of the Salk Institute were designated as a historical landmark in 1991. The entire 27-acre site was deemed eligible by the California Historical Resources Commission in 2006 for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Salk’s personal papers are stored at the Theodore Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego. You might recognize the name of Theodore Geisel as that of Dr. Seuss. Geisel’s personal papers also are stored at the Library.

The Geisel Library is what I consider beautiful architecture:

Geisel Library at the University of California San DiegoPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

(More on the Geisel Library can be found here: The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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8 thoughts on “The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California

  1. Pit

    Good morning, Russel,
    as to the architecture, I agree with you. Kahn’s buidlings are way too monolithic. To me, they look like an air-raid shelter. The Geisel library really is something different. Reminds me of a tree.
    Gave a great 4th of Advent,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Grace Lessageing

    I quite like the building-it has a certain Brutalist appeal. I got a sugar lump, too! I always enjoy anecdotes about people’s childhoods! And what always strikes me is not what is different about various nationalities’ upbringing but how many aspects are the same!

    Liked by 1 person

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