Just before his 71st birthday in the summer of 1982, Van Rensselaer Potter, Hilldale Professor of Oncology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, officially retired. During his career, Potter had distinguished himself in the field of cancer research and accumulated numerous accolades for his work, including the American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor in 1986. He also had coined the term "bioethics," referring to "the equitable application of medical and biological knowledge to assuring the survival and well-being of our species and the biosphere" (Van Rensselaer Potter and Richard Grantham, The Scientist, May 25, 1992, page 10).

Upon retiring, Potter was by no means ready to ride off with his laurels into the sunset. He let it be known that he wanted to continue his affiliation with the University of Wisconsin, which granted him the title of "emeritus."

Potter focused most of his attention on writing a book, Global Bioethics:...

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