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Imperial TechnoscienceTransnational Histories of MRI in the United States, Britain, and India$
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Amit Prasad

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026956

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026956.001.0001

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“Invention” of MRI

“Invention” of MRI

Priority Dispute, Contested Identities, and Authorship Regime

1 “Invention” of MRI
Imperial Technoscience

Amit Prasad

The MIT Press

The history of MRI has been marred by a long-standing priority dispute between two U.S. scientists, Paul Lauterbur and Raymond Damadian. The award of the Nobel Prize to Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield, a British scientist, in 2003, had added another twist to this dispute and response to the award was, as several commentators put it, “sensational.” These responses, and indeed the longstanding dispute, were, however, remarkably staid in espousing autonomous authorship and in constituting a particular technoscientific “event” as an invention. This chapter has a two-fold focus: First, following other scholars in science and technology studies, it argues that an invention is a retrospective construction. It has to presuppose, and also depend on, the development of a technology (e.g. MRI) in order to be constituted as the “origin.” Moreover, the discourse of invention, within and through which claims for priority are made, is entangled with an authorship regime that emerged in Europe and took a specific form in the late 18th century. And, second, it shows that invention of MRI occurred not simply because of “genius” of some scientists, but as a result of certain proposed techniques becoming connected trails.

Keywords:   Lauterbur, Mansfield, Damadian, Invention, priority dispute, authorship regime

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