March 26, 1953–American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces on a national radio show that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952–an epidemic year for polio–there were 58,000 new cases reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as “infant paralysis” because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.
March 15, 44 BC–Julius Caesar is assassinated by a group of about Roman senators, led by Brutus and Cassius. As you may remember from high school literature class, in Shakespeare’s play, Caesar is warned by a soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.”
The Romans kept track of days on their calendar by dividing each month up into three separate points marking the beginning, middle and end of the month. You may have guessed it, but the Ides fall in the middle of the month, on the 15th of March, May, July and October and the 13th for the rest of the year.
Some of the finalists from the Smithsonian Annual Photo Contest.