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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 073-090

Nobel Prize for MRI Imaging Denied to Raymond V. Damadian a Decade Ago

George Kauffman*

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published: 21 March 2014

Abstract. The 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to chemist Paul Christian Lauterbur and physicist Sir Peter Mansfield “for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging.” Raymond Vahan Damadian, M.D. correctly claimed that he had invented MRI and that Lauterbur and Mansfield had merely refined the technology. Because Damadian was not included although the Nobel statutes permit the award to be made to three living individuals, his omission was deliberate. Possible purported reasons for his rejection have included the fact that he was a physician not an academic scientist, his intensive lobbying for the prize, his supposedly abrasive personality, and his active support of creationism, none of which constitute grounds for the denial. This article surveys previous contributions to nuclear magnetic resonance for which Nobel Prizes were awarded, explores Damadian’s personal and professional career, and concludes that Damadian’s seminal discovery preceded and was more fundamental than Lauterbur’s developments.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; Nobel Prize; Criteria for Nobel Prizes; Physics; Chemistry; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR); Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); Nazi Science; History of Physics; Armenian-Americans; Cancer Detection; Creationism; Journalism

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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