THIS YEAR’S NOBEL PRIZE IN MEDICINE.
The shameful wrong that is a flagrant violation of Alfred
THE WILL OF ALFRED NOBEL1,
"I, Alfred Nobel, hereby declare ...
The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt
with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities
by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on
which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes
to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred
the greatest benefit on mankind.
The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts,
which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person
who shall have made the most important discovery
or invention within the field of physics; one part
to the person who shall have made the most important chemical
discovery or improvement; one part to the person who
shall have made the most important discovery
within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part
to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature
the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part
to the person who shall have done the most or the best work
for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction
of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace
Paris, November 27, 1895
Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Raymond Damadian’s “Apparatus
and method for detecting cancer in tissue,” US patent
3789832, filed 17 March 1972, issued 5 February 1974. Image
from the US Patent and Trademark Office. [Drawing and caption
from the textbook.]
THE MRI DISCOVERY OF RAYMOND DAMADIAN,
Here is the true history of the MRI, as presented in the recent
medical textbook MRI From Picture to Proton (Cambridge University
Press, UK, 2003):2
“The initial concept for the medical application of
NMR, as it was then called [nuclear magnetic resonance], originated
with the discovery by Raymond
Damadian in 1971 that certain mouse tumours displayed elevated
relaxation times compared with normal tissues in vitro. This
exciting discovery opened the
door for a complete new way of imaging the human body where
the potential contrast between tissues and disease was many
times greater than that offered by X-ray technology and ultrasound.
At the same time developments in cryogenics, or the study
of very low temperatures, made the development of whole-body
superconducting magnets possible. Damadian and his colleagues
at the State University of New York, starved of mainstream
research funding, went so far as to design and build their
own superconducting magnet operating in their Brooklyn laboratory
and the first human body image by NMR is attributed to them….
“In 1973, in an article in Nature, Paul Lauterbur
proposed using magnetic field gradients to distinguish between
NMR signals originating from different locations. This is
the basis of all modern MRI. Unfortunately, Lauterbur’s
brilliant invention was not accompanied
by a brilliant acronym… Selective excitation, or the
sensitization of tomographic image slices, was invented
at the University of Nottingham, England, in 1974 by Sir Peter
“So what were NMR researchers doing between the forties
[when the NMR phenomenon was discovered] and the seventies
– that’s a long time in cultural and scientific
terms. The answer is: they were doing chemistry, including
Lauterbur, a professor of chemistry at the same institution
as Damadian. NMR developed into a laboratory spectroscopic
technique capable of examining the molecular structure of
compounds, until Damadian’s ground-breaking discovery
THE DISCOVERY THAT MADE MRI HAPPEN.
Dr. Damadian with the NMR instrument
he used to discover the cancer-detecting MR signal.
In our continuing effort to right the shameful wrong that
has been done to Raymond Damadian, M. D., by this year’s
Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology or Medicine in excluding
him from the award for the MRI, we now share with you why
his exclusion is a flagrant violation of the last will and
testament of Alfred Nobel, which the Committee apparently
plans to ignore at the prize ceremony on the night of December
As you see by reading Alfred Nobel’s will, he meticulously
distinguishes between a discovery
and an invention. Why? He is recognizing
the classical distinction between basic science (discovery)
and applied science (technology or inventions). Since he recognizes
the difference painstakingly, it is the fiduciary responsibility
of those entrusted with the implementation of his will to
honor it to the letter.
For example, in physics he wills: "one part [shall be
awarded] to the person who shall have made the most important
discovery or invention within the field of physics."
Nobel is stating that as far as his will is concerned, invention
is NOT discovery.
On the other hand, when he specifies what the award shall
be given for in physiology or medicine, he states very clearly:
"one part [shall be awarded] to the person who shall
have made the most important discovery
within the domain of physiology or medicine."
He intentionally limits the prize to discovery
and does not allow it to be given for invention.
THE FLAGRANT VIOLATION OF ALFRED NOBEL’S
This year’s Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine
has decided the prize will honor only inventions, while they
have willfully excluded the "exciting discovery [that]
opened the door for a complete new way of imaging the human
body where the potential contrast between tissues and disease
was many times greater than that offered by X-ray technology
One of the winners himself, Paul Lauterbur, regarded his contribution
as an invention. He sought a patent. Patents are not granted
for discoveries. SUNY's patent prosecution agent wrote "...
your scanning invention ... we
have regretfully decided not to accept ..."3
The contributions of both winners were, in fact, inventions
that improved the point-by-point scanning method Dr. Damadian
invented to record the signals he discovered – and the
method by which he achieved the world’s first MR scan
of a living human being.
RAYMOND DAMADIAN’S SELF-EVIDENT
As reported in The Downstate Reporter in Spring of 1971,4
far ahead of any MR contributions by Lauterbur or Mansfield:
"Already, Dr. Damadian is planning to build a much larger
nuclear magnetic resonance device, one that will be big enough
to hold a human being." In the same issue, Dr. Damadian
further outlined the method he would use to accomplish the
3D spatial resolution needed for a scan. "The proposed
NMR device for detecting cancer in humans would not have to
be highly elaborate," Dr. Damadian said. "It would
consist of a large coil to emit radio waves and a movable
magnet to create the magnetic field required. The coil would
be wrapped around the patient's chest, while the magnet passed
back and forth across the body. A detector would pick up NMR
emissions for analysis."5
This landmark disclosure of Dr. Damadian's intentions to
scan the human body by NMR to detect cancer and his first
disclosure of a method for achieving the 3D spatial resolution
needed to accomplish a scan of the human body by NMR was published
in The Downstate Reporter 18 months before Lauterbur reported
his back-projection gradient method for NMR scanning, which
he did not submit for publication until October 1972 and which
was not published in Nature until March 1973.
Damadian’s first thoughts of using NMR in biomedical
research actually came to him way back in 1963 when he was
a postdoctorial research fellow at Harvard. He was researching
salt and water behavior within living cells. His original
discovery of the strong cancer signal that originated MRI
grows out of the different ways the structure of water within
tissues responds to magnetic resonance.
ALFRED NOBEL WOULD NOT QUALIFY FOR HIS
Imagine how awry the decision-making process has gone! A leading
Swedish inventor recently flew from Stockholm to New York
to corroborate that the Nobel committee willfully ignores
Nobel's will. He brought with him a video tape that ran nationally
on Swedish television. On the tape, the Secretary of the Nobel
Committee of Physics, Anders Barany, actually states, "If
an invention is so practical that you can patent it and make
money from it, the academy should not give the prize to such,
and instead give the prize to discoveries within science."
Sorry, we didn’t think the Nobel Prize was about money.
We thought it’s about the recognition of scientific
Unfortunately, Nobel held 355 patents on his inventions.
So Alfred Nobel would not qualify for his own prize!
WILLY-NILLY WITH THE WILL
Actually, the Nobel Committee seems to honor or violate Nobel’s
will whenever it chooses.
In 1954 the Committee chose to honor it.6 They
excluded Jonas Salk from the polio prize in medicine, because
his contribution was a technique, not
a discovery. Yet in 1979 they violated it. They gave
the prize in medicine for the CAT scanner to two individuals
for their "independent development
[not discovery] of computer-assisted tomography (CAT scan)."
In this instance, they did not even bother to disguise the
violation of Nobel's will with the deceptive inclusion of
the word “discovery,” as they did with the announcement
of this year’s prize for MRI.
THE TWO WINNERS KNOW BETTER.7
SO DOES THE COMMITTEE.
Paul Lauterbur, in his witnessed notebook entry, which he
made at the moment he thought to use a magnetic gradient for
scanning, credits Damadian’s March 1971 paper in Science.
(The magnetic gradient was invented Gabillard.) Lauterbur
also added Damadian’s tissue discovery to his first
paper to persuade Nature to publish it. (March 1973.) He needed
a significant application to convince the editors of the importance
of his idea and used Damadian’s cancer signal discovery.
Yet, despite citing Damadian’s priority in his private
notebook, he did not credit Damadian in his published paper.
In fact, he attributed Damadian’s work to a subsequent
Peter Mansfield only began to think about imaging when Damadian’s
tissue discovery was brought to his attention. “So it
certainly had an influence,” Mansfield said. “I
think Damadian’s work had some influence on everyone.”
So why on earth did the Committee exclude Dr. Damadian?
Since idealism seems to be falling on deaf ears, let us finally
trot out the regrettable facts. Over the years Paul Lauterbur
has refused to credit Damadian publicly. In addition to neglecting
to credit Damadian in his first paper, he also refused to
credit him in a lengthy series of papers over many years.
To add insult to injury, he has even said repeatedly that
if Damadian were included in the prize, he would refuse it.
Apparently, the committee decided to let him have his way.
This decision is an outrage. The Nobel Prize is not about
a game of favorites or a personality contest. It’s about
the truth of science. They should have named three winners
and let the ones who have respect for the award show up to
IF ALFRED NOBEL WERE ALIVE, WHAT WOULD
The true history of MRI was meticulously and repeatedly provided
to the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine since Raymond
Damadian’s repeated nomination for the prize over the
years. So the Nobel Committee knew all too well the wrong
they were perpetrating. Their attempt to cover up the flagrant
violation of Nobel’s will is evident in their deliberate
mislabeling of the contributions of the two winners. They
were selected: “for certain discoveries
concerning magnetic resonance imaging.” What discoveries?
Here are three of Alfred Nobel’s
“Lying is the greatest of all sins.”
“The truthful man is usually defeated by the liar.”
“The best excuse for the fallen ones is that Madame
Justice herself is one of them.”
TO THOSE WHO PLAN TO ATTEND THE NOBEL
We appeal to all right-minded people to help us right the
shameful wrongs done by this year’s Nobel Prize Committee
At this time, we make a special appeal to those who plan
to attend the prize ceremony on the evening of December 10th.
As so far planned, the ceremony must devolve into an empty
show of Nobel’s will meretriciously violated and Damadian’s
true merit illegitimately sealed out. On the other hand, the
prompt corrective inclusion of Raymond Damadian as the third
recipient of this year’s prize in medicine will transform
the charade now in prospect into an honorable ceremony.
Should the Nobel Committee continue to defy the wording of
Alfred Nobel’s will and the self-evident deserving of
Raymond Damadian, where will you be on the evening of December
On such a night, even the King might want to make his excuses.
THREE WINNERS CAN BE NAMED
If the truth had prevailed, the Committee would have named
three winners. It is still not too late for those in the Committee
who know the wrong that has been done to step forward and
We grant them the right to award the prize to anyone they
choose. But we will never grant them the right to rewrite
Demand now a Nobel Prize ceremony proudly illuminated by
the light of justice done to the founder’s last will
and to an inventor’s distinguished vivification of it.
Join your voice to the worldwide outcry, now.
A FOOTNOTE TO HISTORY
Should we fail to right the shameful wrong of Raymond Damadian’s
exclusion from this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine,
where will the truly lasting damage affix itself? For over
30 years Raymond V. Damadian, M. D., has been credited with
the signal discovery that opened the door to all MR medical
scanning. His landmark MR tissue-signal discoveries will forever
shine out as the charter for MR medical imaging. He will also
continue to be credited with far more original contributions
to the development of the MRI than any other scientist. Raymond
Damadian is very securely in the history books.
What will now begin to appear in history books is that the
Nobel Prize was given to two men who made technical improvements
on Damadian’s discovery and his other foundational contributions
to MRI – technical improvements that have long since
been replaced by the additional improvements contributed by
a brilliant train of other scientists.
To all those who know better – medical doctors, Ph.D.’s,
and informed readers – the shameful wrong done to Raymond
Damadian and the flagrant violation of Alfred Nobel’s
will it entails cannot help but be viewed with scorn for what
it is so obviously and shamefully: The misguided attempt of
the Committee to transfer a long-honored medical doctor’s
life’s work to their research cronies.
In the face of the shameful wrong done to him, Raymond Damadian
has once again shown the indomitable spirit to which we truly
owe the MRI – the spirit that persisted even when the
machine he alone envisioned was almost universally ridiculed
in scientific circles with such moronic expletives as “visionary
nonsense.” In the face of all that scorn, he stood his
ground and he called his machine Indomitable.
Today he has also stood his ground, not only for himself,
but to help assure that all those medical doctors and other
scientists who have found their calling in research and all
those who will come after him can trust that their achievements
will be judged in the pure light of the truth. It is the minimal
requirement of any credible award – particularly one
that hopes to commend these dedicated seekers after truth
– that its singular allegiance is to the labor of research
and to the glory of inspiration that characterize the adventure
of scientific discovery. Only then may any award deserve the
distinction of being considered commensurate with the truth
All potential beneficiaries of Nobel’s will –
that is, all current and future candidates for the Nobel Prize
– have the right to expect the terms of Nobel’s
will to be faithfully adhered to. Such adherence is not only
ethically correct. It’s the law.
Regardless of what happens with this year’s Nobel Prize
in Medicine, some values are, thankfully, beyond the grasp
of cunning. Dr. Raymond Damadian will continue to rest easy
in the National Inventors Hall of Fame of the U. S. Patent
Office, into which he was inducted as the inventor of the
MRI in 1989. He will remain in this hallowed hall in the distinguished
company of the other great inventors who have been honored
by induction into it, including, ironically enough, Alfred
Nobel. In looking over the brilliant contributors to science
who are enshrined in the hall, we note that an occasional
inductee has also been awarded the Nobel Prize. Yet what is
most conspicuous is that the vast majority of these unquestionably
deserving benefactors of humanity have managed to maintain
their place in history without having been awarded that particular
prize. For example, since the Nobel began we find among the
excluded Edison, Bell, the Wright Brothers, Tesla, Marconi,
Diesel, Goddard, Sikorsky and now, apparently, Raymond Damadian.
THE REGRETTABLE DECLINE IN PRESTIGE
OF THE NOBEL PRIZE
A prize is in itself neutral, a mere medal and money. What
gives it any prestige worth high consideration is an eminently
laudable selection process, the accumulated merit of those
on whom it is bestowed, and the admiration consequent to both
instances of excellence. The tragic descent of the Nobel Prize
has not only been the step down from excellence in its selection
process but the unreasonably high estimation accorded the
prize by the scientific community.
So far has excess in the pursuit of the prize gone that the
heady chase after it now often takes precedence over the inspired
pursuit of scientific truth. Today projects are often funded,
not so much on the unadulterated intuition that they might
confer the greatest benefit to humanity, but on a cynical
bet that a successful outcome just might win the Nobel Prize.
Newton didn’t need the Nobel Prize for gravity. Einstein
didn’t get it for relativity. It is high time for the
men and women of science to reassert the primacy of the unblinking
quest for truth.
1. Nobel e-Museum
2. MRI From Picture to Proton, Cambridge University Press,
3. The Pioneers of NMR and Magnetic Resonance in Medicine,
Bar-Ilan University Press, Ramat Gan, Israel, 1996, p. 724,
4. This was Dr. Damadian’s restatement of his 1969 written
proposal to build a X cancer-detecting body scanner as the
basis of his request for research funds from The Health Research
Council of the City of New York.
5. Subsequently, detailed in his March 1972 patent. The method
outlined in The Downstate Reporter and patented by Damadian
was the method with which he achieved the first scan of a
human being on July 3, 1977, and shortly afterward scans of
patients with cancer.
6. Makers of Modern Science: Jonas Salk, V. Sharrow, 1993,
New York: Facts of File, 1993
7. A Machine Called Indomitable, by Sonny Kleinfield, Times
Books, Inc., 1985
Additional documentation can be found at www.fonar.com.
Paid for by The Friends of Raymond Damadian Contact DanielCulver@aol.com
or call him at 631-694-2929.
Insist that this shameful wrong be righted, now.
HOW YOU CAN HELP RIGHT THIS SHAMEFUL WRONG
The Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine
Dear Member of the Nobel Committee: The truth must have a
place. I/We believe this year’s Nobel Committee for
Physiology or Medicine should include Dr. Raymond Damadian.
Write to: The Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine
Box 270 SE-171,
77 Stockholm, Sweden
E-Mail to: email@example.com
Or call the Committee at: 011-46-8-585-823-44 or
Please CC DanielCulver@aol.com
011-46-8-662-64-31 or 011-46-8-517-745-00