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Press Statement 03-002

Statement by Dr. Rita R. Colwell, Director, and Dr. Joseph Bordogna, Deputy Director, National Science Foundation, On Award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

October 6, 2003

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

We are delighted to congratulate the 2003 Nobel Laureate in physiology or medicine, Professor Paul Lauterbur of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, whose discoveries helped lead to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as one of today's indispensable technologies for diagnosing cancers and other medical conditions. The National Science Foundation is pleased to have contributed to his research.

Lauterbur first proposed and demonstrated the use of nuclear magnetic resonance to form images and has also been recognized for his work with the National Medal of Science in 1987 and the National Medal of Technology in 1988.

NSF awards to Lauterbur are among many in the physical sciences and engineering for research and instrumentation in nuclear magnetic resonance, as well as for research in related areas such as electromagnetics, digital systems, biophysics and computer engineering. That MRI emerged from the fundamental physics of the behavior of atoms to become a critical modern tool for medicine serves as another reminder of how today's basic science and engineering research and education contribute to future benefits for our health and well being.


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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, its budget is $8.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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