Overlooked Nobel advertises his plight

December 12, 2003

A pioneer of magnetic resonance imaging who missed out on a share of the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine has stepped up his campaign to gain recognition, spending about £150,000 on adverts in the UK press alone.

Raymond Damadian, a US researcher who created pictures of internal organs using radio waves and magnetic fields at the State University of New York in the early 1970s, believes he has been wronged by the Nobel prize committee.

Some suspect that Dr Damadian's creationist views, which include opposition to the theory of evolution and a belief that the earth is 6,000 years old, influenced the committee.

Sir Peter Mansfield, professor of physics at Nottingham University, and US scientist Paul Lauterbur collected their medals and £400,000 each in Stockholm on Wednesday.

Campaign group The Friends of Raymond Damadian, which paid for double-page and full-page adverts in The Daily Telegraph this week and last, is estimated to have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds, taking into account adverts the group has placed in US broadsheet newspapers to support his cause.

The adverts attack the Nobel committee and call the exclusion of Dr Damadian from the prize ceremony "shameful".

They also speculate that it was Dr Damadian's role as an inventor - his company Fonar is a major manufacturer of MRI scanners - rather than as an academic researcher, that prejudiced the committee against him.

But many UK scientists have spoken out in support of the Nobel committee's decision, stating their belief that the two winners contributed a great deal more to the development of MRI as a clinical tool than Dr Damadian.

Some complained that the adverts were motivated by sour grapes and were tarnishing Sir Peter and Professor Lauterbur's achievement.

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