Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Damadian Honored In Monday's posting I reported on the case of Dr. Raymond Damadian, whose work on MRI's in the early seventies was passed over by the Nobel committee. Instead, the prize went to two other researchers, who arguably made more significant contributions in the field.

According to this New York Times article, Damadian has now received an award from the Franklin Institute. This is an annual award given in each of two categories: science and business acumen. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Last fall, Dr. Raymond V. Damadian was denied a Nobel Prize for his role in the development of magnetic resonance imaging. But he won a consolation prize last week, when the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia recognized his business acumen in making the idea profitable.

Dr. Damadian, the president of Fonar Inc. of Melville, N.Y., a manufacturer of M.R.I. machines, complained loudly and publicly after the Nobel Prize in Medicine last year, recognizing "discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging," went to Dr. Paul C. Lauterbur of the University of Illinois and Sir Peter Mansfield of the University of Nottingham in England.

In a series of full-page advertisements in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, Dr. Damadian declared that he took the crucial first steps in adapting magnetic resonance for medical scans back in the 1970's and that he should have been recognized for them. The advertisements, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, showed a Nobel medal turned upside down and called the omission "the shameful wrong that must be righted."

On Thursday, the Franklin Institute, the science museum in Philadelphia, bestowed one of its two annual Bower Awards on Dr. Damadian. Each year, the awards — one for science and one for business leadership — focus on a different research field. This year, the field is brain research.


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