Hilleman became a scientist because as a youngster he read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which had been overlooked by a committee bent on making the local library safe for Creationism. He grew up and developed more than forty vaccines. His sobriquet, given by his contemporaries, was “The Man Who Saved Your Life.”
Here’s a link to his story from the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research.
His credits include not only the preventive vaccine for mumps, but also vaccines for measles, rubella (German measles), chickenpox, bacterial meningitis, flu and hepatitis B….
Many of the diseases that Hilleman’s vaccines helped bring under control have been all but forgotten by a well-immunized generation of Americans. But not that long ago in this country, these diseases not only kept children home from school, they also sent them to the hospital and even the cemetery. Today Hilleman’s measles vaccine alone prevents an estimated one million deaths around the globe every year.
In my new calendar of nerd holidays, I think we should add Maurice Hilleman’s birthday.