In 1892, when Gen. Isaac J. Wistar founded the institute that a century later still bears his name, his main intent was to make a home for the anatomical collection that belonged to his great-uncle Caspar Wistar, a University of Pennsylvania anatomist and physician.

Fortunately, the general thought to add a few laboratories and research rooms to the museum on the first floor, which displayed such items as a great whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling.

But though it was the general who founded the institute, it was Hilary Koprowski who put it on the map--or, some would say, the globe.

In 1957, when Koprowski arrived, the place "was a dilapidated, archaic, musty, dusty institute of biology and medicine where no major research was being done. It was Hilary who built it up," says Michael Katz, a colleague of Koprowski's and chairman of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical School in...

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