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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2006
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Claim CA320.2:

The 2003 Nobel Prize in medicine went to Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield for their development of medical applications for MRI. Dr. Raymond Damadian also played a key role in the invention; he was denied a share of the prize because he is a creationist.


Wieland, Carl. 2004. The not-so-Nobel decision.


  1. Complex inventions build on the work of many, many people. It is often a subjective judgment call to say which were the most important inventors. Damadian discovered that that tumors and normal tissues have different nuclear spin relaxation times; that he deserves much credit for the MRI is beyond question, and he has received much credit. That he deserves a Nobel prize is arguable. The prize was awarded primarily for the imaging aspects of MRI (Nobel Assembly, 2003), to which Lauterbur and Mansfield contributed more than Damadian. Lauterbur introduced a method for using NMR for generating images, and Mansfield enhanced the technique to make it faster and more useful.

  2. There is no indication that Damadian's creationism was a factor in his not getting the Nobel prize. Personalities play a far greater role than ideologies in affecting whether someone gets a prize. Damadian's abrasive personality may well have been enough to make him unpopular. Or other factors may have been involved. The Nobel committee might have felt pressure not to split prizes so much. Or they might simply have screwed up. Blaming his exclusion on creationism is pure speculation.

  3. The history of the Nobel Prize is full of controversy which has nothing to do with creationism. Other deserving people passed over for Nobel Prizes include Dmitri Mendeleev (periodic table of the elements), Edwin Hubble (expansion of the universe), Samuel Goudsmit and George Uhlenbeck (spin of the electron), Mohandas K. Gandhi (nonviolent protest), Leo Tolstoy, Henrik Ibsen, and James Joyce (literature). Selman Waksman was the sole winner of the 1952 medicine Nobel prize for discovering streptomycin, although Albert Schatz did most of the work. Penzias and Wilson shared the 1978 physics prize for verifying a prediction of big bang theory, but Ralph Alpher, who was largely responsible for the theory, was not included. Many people believe Freeman Dyson should have been included in the 1965 physics Nobel prize for quantum electrodynamics, and that Otto Hahn's colleagues Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann deserved a share of his 1944 chemistry prize for fission. Many other examples could be cited (Feldman 2000).

    Many people made substantial contributions to MRI but did not win the Nobel Prize. H. Y. Carr, who pioneered the gradient technique that Lauterbur used, has at least as good a case for being unjustly passed over as Damadian does.


Stracher, Cameron, 2002. Scan and deliver: The duel over who should get credit for the original MRI. Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal, 14 June 2002.

Pincock, Stephen, 2003. Not winning the Nobel. The Scientist (8 Oct.),


  1. Feldman, Burton. 2000. The Nobel Prize: A history of genius, controversy, and prestige. New York: Arcade.
  2. Nobel Assembly. 2003. Press Release: The 2003 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.

Further Reading:

Judson, Horace Freeland. 2003. No Nobel prize for whining. New York Times editorial, 20 Oct. 2003.
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