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Alfred Nobel Video

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Paul C. Lauterbur Ph.D.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2003
Nobel Co-recipient Sir Peter Mansfield
The President's National Medal of Science - Physical Sciences 1987
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation 1988

Chemist. Magnetic resonance imaging.

"Every great idea in history has the red stamp of rejection on its face. If you scratch any innovation's surface, you'll find the scars: they've been roughed up and thrashed around by the masses and the leading minds before they made it into your life."



1. Before every big breakthrough, it is first a crazy idea.

2. …I addressed one aspect of the problem by substituting phthalocyanine dyes for silica, and they worked perfectly, with their effectiveness decreasing as predicted when the particle size was increased by recrystallization from liquid hydrogen fluoride. Unfortunately, I never achieved a theoretical understanding of the effect, despite intense study of elastomer theory, but I had bright blue rubber and skin.

3. For a time the company thrived, and I was a member of the Board of Directors. The developments at the company could supply the plot for a novel…

4. When the journal initially rejected publishing his article, he remarked, "You could write the entire history of science in the last 50 years in terms of papers rejected by Science or Nature."


1. Thus, by the time the long-awaited Nobel Prize for MRI was awarded, I had left that field for another. I am now not only actively pursuing my new research interests, but learning the new skills in time management required of a Nobel Laureate.

2. All science is interdisciplinary, from magnetic moments to molecules to men.

3. My efforts to expand the imaging studies, now named MRI by medical doctors, began to be seriously inhibited by administrative and political problems at Stony Brook.

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Name: Paul Christian Lauaterbur
Birth: 6 May 1929, Sidney, OH, USA
Death: 27 March 2007, Urbana, IL, USA
Institution: University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA
Award: "for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging"
Subject: Diagnostic imaging
Portion of Cash: 1/2
Journal Articles
History of Discovery
General Nobel Prize Information