In 1887 the U.S. federal government established a little one-room laboratory on Staten Island, N.Y., and called it the Laboratory of Hygiene. Today, that lab is called the National Institutes of Health.

All year long NIH has been bombarding the media with press releases on its centennial events, including a July 1 Capitol Hill “photo opportunity” with some of the nation’s 25,000 centenarians. But they’ve failed to mention many of the more interesting stories.

For example, what do you give NIH when it turns 100? Here’s what a few people have done.

" Surgeon General C. Everett Koop tried to -give the Public Health Service Corps at NIH a gift of nice white uniforms as part of his campaign to impose a more military-like attitude on the medical corps. They said, “No, thanks.” Then he tried to give NIH new staff by seeking the retirement of 34 senior scientists and...

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