Nobel Loser Doth Protest A Lot

A researcher who says he was unjustly excluded from this year's Nobel Prize in medicine has placed full-page newspaper ads in the United States asking people to write to the Nobel committee in protest.

A cutout coupon in the ads asks members of the committee to have the two named winners share the prize with Dr. Raymond Damadian, who is founder and president of Fonar Corp. in Melville, New York. He said his company paid for the ads.

On Monday, American Paul C. Lauterbur and Briton Sir Peter Mansfield won the prize for discoveries leading to magnetic resonance imaging, the body-scanning technique that reveals images of inner organs.

Damadian told the Washington Post his reaction to the news was "agony. I know the outcome of this is to be written out of history altogether."

A full-page ad Damadian placed in the Post asserted that "inexcusable disregard for the truth has led the [Nobel] committee to make a decision that is simply outrageous."

The newspaper said such ads normally cost just over $80,000.

Damadian and Lauterbur jointly won the National Medal of Technology in 1988 for the development of MRI. The ad says Damadian made the key discovery on which MRI is based, while Lauterbur and Mansfield made technological improvements.

In an interview Friday, Damadian said that without his work "MRI wouldn't exist."

Asked if he thought the ad campaign would get the committee to include him, Damadian said, "I don't have much prospect for them to change their mind. But what I want the public to know is that this is an entity that operates above the law and is accountable to no one. ... And they shouldn't be free to be the ultimate arbiter of scientific history."

The award is given by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Hans Joernvall, secretary of the assembly, said in response to Damadian's comments, "We stand by what we've done, and what we've done is right."

He declined to say whether Damadian had been nominated. Names of nominees are kept secret for 50 years.