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Raymond Damadian and the Development of MRI (Unlocking the Secrets of Science)

Raymond Damadian and the Development of MRI (Unlocking the Secrets of Science) (Unlocking the Secrets of Science) - Marylou Morano Kjelle, Marylou Kielle As you might guess from the title, this book really pissed me off.You see, this universe doesn't deserve Raymond Damadian. I know I don't; and you don't either.Oh, what's that? You don't know who he is? Well, that's pretty sad, because chances are you know who Bono and Tia Tequila are. So let me try to fix things a little: Raymond Damadian is the inventor of the MRI... the M.-fucking-R.I. (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) You see, Damadian learned that molecules emit unique electromagnetic "signature" waves when they're excited in a magnetic field. He figured out how to make a computer take all the "signature" waves of every molecule in your body to form an image of your inner structure... And I'm not talking about some bullshit shadowy X-ray image, where the liver looks the same as the pancreas; I'm talking about really good, well-defined soft tissue differentiation that can distinguish between the gray matter and white matter in your brain!What's it good for? Oh, nothing much.. just identifying tumors without having to do surgery. The same tumors your doctor would have to "discover" at an autopsy back before M.R.I. came along. ONE GUY invented that???HELL YEAH!... that's what I'm trying to say!!! I didn't even think it was POSSIBLE that something like that could even HAVE just one inventor! Surely a device that complex must represent a group effort by a whole team of super-genius PhD's. Nope. Just one guy.DAMN! How'd he do it?By doing the things that we make fun of because they aren't cool: THINKING ABOUT THINGS, AND WORKING REALLY, REALLY HARD. Damadian was born to poor immigrants in Queens, NY in the 1930's... how cliche, right? And he had to work from a young age to contribute to the family. I know, I know... how "Norman Rockwell", right? But he was very intellegent, and he really applied himself, and when his mother died of cancer, he had this dream that he would become a doctor one day, to help ease human suffering. OH! If that were the script to next week's Sunday Night Movie, it would be too hackneyed to take seriously! EXCEPT ALL THIS STUFF REALLY HAPPENED! He went to Albert Einstein Medical School, and became interested in biophysics. He did his residency in Internal Medicine, and then a Nephrology fellowship at Washington University (St.Louis). From there, he took a staff position at Harvard. Pretty good, huh? I guess a guy like that could really cash in and live the high life...Oh wait... he went into medicine for sincere humanitarian reasons, and actually liked learning about science. So instead, he went to a lab studying the movement of electrolytes in E.coli bacteria -because nephrologists just loooooove their electrolytes.Wow! He must have started his own company; then when the IPO came out, he probably became a billionaire overnight!Nope. Not rich. Not particularly. Wealth in this country is mainly reserved for dumbass bankers who fuck up their stupid jobs and then get rewarded for it. Also, if you're a cocaine-addicted sex-criminal who can throw a football really well, that's another way to get rich. Damadian got a $100,000 grant from the NIH in 1974, but his research required $200k, so he had to turn to private investors and tap into his own life savings to pursue his work. After slaving away in a lab nonstop for three years on a pittance salary, finally on July 3, 1977, Damadian generated the first MRI image of a human body. To everyone out there who rationalizes banker multimillion dollar bonuses with the notion that "You have to provide this kind of incentive, or you won't get good people in finance", I urge you to forgo an MRI when it is needed for you or your loved ones.What a spectacular, historic event! How do you possibly follow up on something like that? I mean, after bringing mankind such a powerful and benevolent tool, what do you do after that?Well, typically you spend the next 20 years fighting patent/copyright infringement battles against General Electric and Johnson&Johnson, so you can pay back the people who helped fund your research.Sheesh.... well, at least he got the Nobel Prize, right?Nope. No Nobel Prize.Our world serioiusly has its priorities out of order. The story of Damadian is a small illustration of the greater wrongs that persist at large. We can keep ignoring selfless geniuses like Damadian, and rewarding backstabbing averice (e.g. "too-big-to-fail" Wall Street banks) for a while, but we will eventually reap what we sow.