Raymond Vahan Damadian

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Medicine

For their independent contributions in conceiving and developing the application of magnetic resonance technology to medical uses including whole body scanning and diagnostic imaging.

For their independent contributions in conceiving and developing the application of magnetic resonance technology to medical uses including whole body scanning and diagnostic imaging.

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Birth
March 16, 1936
Age Awarded
52
Awarded With
Paul C. Lauterbur
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
MRI
Awarded by
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Education
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
University of Wisconsin
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Health & Medicine
Affiliations
FONAR Corporation
Other Prizes
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award
A

Astounding achievements are nothing new to Robert Vahan Damadian. As a teen, he competed against 100,000 other applicants to win a coveted Ford Foundation Scholarship, which he used to earn a degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin in 1956. A medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine followed in 1960.

But even bigger things would come from Damadian. In 1969, after researching sodium and potassium in living cells, he proposed the first magnetic resonance body scanner. Magnetic resonance had been used to study chemicals, but Damadian thought that it could be used to distinguish tumors from normal body tissue and doggedly pursued his research.

Several years later, he built “Indomitable,’’ the first MR scanner. In 1978, the machine produced the first scans of cancer patients.

Damadian, who taught at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, founded Fonar Inc., which produced the world’s first commercial MRI machine in 1980.

Known as the “inventor of the MRI’’ in scientific circles, Damadian has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Indomitable, his original MRI, was given to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

By Robert Warren

Profile photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute

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