News briefs

A sharper image

Attendees at an April 29 symposium sponsored by the Franklin Institute and Penn Health System’s Department of Radiology got a crash course in the history of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and how it’s used at Penn. The real draw, though, was MRI’s inventor, Raymond Damadian, who was recently—some say scandalously—passed over for the Nobel Prize.

Damadian was in town to accept the 2004 Bower Award for Business Leadership, an honor that recognizes his scientific innovation as well as the business acumen that led to his founding of the FONAR Corporation, which produces commercial MRI scanners.

Damadian recalled his medical school days in the 1950s, when X-rays provided the best way of looking inside the human head. Showing a slide of a fuzzy X-ray image of a male skull, Damadian described it as, “confirmatory evidence of what the world’s wives had thought for a long time—there was something missing up there.”

If you build it…

Construction continues on building projects across campus. The renovation of Williams Hall, home to many language departments, will be finished this month, and by August repairs on Harrison College House—part of a three-tiered renovation of the undergrad high-rises—should be complete. In October, the WXPN staff moves into its new home on Walnut Street, the Hajoca Building. Next to the BioPond, crews are continuing work on the Life Sciences Building, with a projected end date in 2005. Construction of the new Vet School—which includes a redesign of the intersection at Baltimore, University and Woodland avenues and 38th and 39th streets—has just begun. That project and the new Bioengineering building, Skirkanich Hall, are both slated for completion in 2006.


Originally published on May 13, 2004