Medicine: Glutaril Cas. 20%

At 34, Dr. Giovanni Pauletta was head of all microbiological research at Carlo Erba, Milan's big chemical-pharmaceutical company. Recognized as one of Italy's topflight microbiologists, he was one of the first to study penicillin mold in Italy, had written widely on antibiotics. Dr. Pauletta's colleagues also knew him as a dedicated and fearless experimenter who had used himself as a guinea pig hundreds of times. But the doctor never talked much about his experiments. "He was a very modest man," his colleagues said.

One morning last week, Dr. Pauletta walked into his office and called his assistant, 28-year-old Dr. Angelo Cresseri. He...

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