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Irving and Renee Milchberg Endowed Lecture

  • To
  • John S. Toll Physics Building
Prof. Howard Milchberg and family.

The famous first line of the Nuremberg Code, written by the judges at the Nazi Doctors’ Trial in 1947, is that “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential." The Code is usually noted for the phrase “voluntary consent,” a condition for human experiments that the judges considered to be “absolutely essential." But the latter imperative phrase has elicited far less commentary: Essential for what and for whom? I argue that the field known as bioethics, the study and implementation of moral values and human rights in medicine and the life sciences, is a creature of what political scientists call the post-World War II liberal international order (LIO), or simply the rules-based order. The Doctors’ Trial was a key element in the Allies attempt to bring medical science within the rubric of the rules-based order. The current threats to that order, from the after-effects of the pandemic to the war in Ukraine to the results of climate change, present important implications for the core values of bioethics as a creature of the postwar international order.

Prof. Moreno, Penn's David and Lyn Silfen University Professor and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, studies medical ethics and health policy, the history and sociology of science, and philosophy.

University of Maryland Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering Howard Milchberg, his wife Rena, and their three children Moses, Mollie, and Max, established this lecture in memory of Howard's late parents, Renee and Irving Milchberg. Renee and Irving were witnesses to and victims of what can happen to society when ideology and lies are accepted in lieu of facts. Howard's own decision to study physics was motivated by a compelling need for clarity and truth, which grew out of his parent'’ experiences. The Milchberg family hopes this lectureship will serve to honor the legacy of Renee and Irving by continuing to give voice to facts and evidence, vital for a civilized society.


John S. Toll Physics Building

4150 Campus Drive

College Park, MD 20740

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The lecture will be held in room 1410 of the John S. Toll Physics Building, with refreshments served at 3:30 p.m.


Department of Physics

For disability accommodations, please contact Anne Suplee at

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