RAYMOND VAHAN DAMADIAN, scientist and inventor

RAYMOND VAHAN DAMADIAN, scientist and inventor

Raymond Vahan Damadian is the visionary inventor of the first magnetic scanning machine, now known as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine.


He was born in New York and raised in Queens. 

Claim to fame

Damadian is credited with inventing the MRI machine. Despite this monumental invention, which revolutionized the medical field, Damadian was infamously denied the Nobel Prize when the Nobel Committee awarded other scientists for their role in developing the MRI. Nevertheless, Damadian was awarded with the United States National Medal of Technology, is an inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and received the Lemelson-MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Prize for inventors as the “man who invented the MRI scanner.” His first machine, the “Indomitable,” is housed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

What he said

“Crazy, they called me. I made presentations on this incongruous idea that you could stuff a human being into the magnet.”

What others said

“MRI's entire development rests on the shoulders of Damadian's discovery…” – Eugene Feigelson, dean of the college of medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

“Without Damadian’s discovery, it could not be known that serious diseases like cancer could be detected by an NMR scanner [previous name for MRI] or that tissue NMR signals possessed sufficient contract to create medically useful images.” – Mattson, J. and Simon, M., The Pioneers of NMR and Magnetic Resonance in Medicine: The Story of MRI

“An underdog physician [Damadian] showed chemists and physicists a new way to look inside the human body – and diagnose illnesses.” - PBS

Noteworthy work