Monday, October 06, 2003

With the announcement of the winners today I vaguely remembered reading something in the past about why the MRI had not yet gotten someone a Nobel. I found it here as an Opinion Journal piece from June of 2002. I details a controversy between the winners of the Nobel prize this year andDr. Raymond Damadian ,who claims also to have invented MRI.
.....Although some scientists had tinkered with trying to obtain a signal from biological samples, it was Dr. Damadian who first conceived of using T1 and T2 measurements to scan the body for cancerous tissue. He patented his discovery and, in 1992, won a patent infringement lawsuit against General Electric for $110.5 million. Today, more than 95% of all MRI scans use T1 or T2 measurements......
Nevertheless, his observation of T1 and T2 differences in cancerous tissue was a Eureka moment for Paul Lauterbur. After seeing Dr. Damadian's experiment repeated by a graduate student, Mr. Lauterbur dined at a hamburger joint, where he had a flash of brilliance.
He realized he could subject the nuclei to a second magnetic field that varied in strength in a precise way. Though the idea of a "magnetic field gradient" was not new, Mr. Lauterbur was the first to see how it could be used to reconstruct an image. He wrote his idea in a notebook and had it witnessed the next day. His work, with later contributions from Peter Mansfield, forms the basis for modern MRI imaging.....

I see no mention of Dr. Damadian's demise in his biography (a Nobel cannot be awarded posthumously) so the Nobel committee did not feel that his contribution was signifigant. Interesting
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