We were absolutely delighted in 2003 when Professor Sir Peter Mansfield, who has been a member of the School of Physics & Astronomy for over 40 years, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, recognising the huge part that this brilliant physicist played in the invention of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This award is joint with Professor Paul Lauterbur.
In the early 1970’s, Sir Peter's vision allowed him not only to understand how to transform Nuclear Magnetic Resonance into a medical imaging technique, but also to foresee what would be required to make the technique clinically useful and to identify early on many of the potential areas of application for MRI in clinical medicine. Over the following decades he has been driven to realise these potential applications, with his work often being years ahead of its time. He is responsible for the introduction of new understanding of important aspects of the physics of NMR and image formation, as well as the invention of many of the techniques and features of the scanner equipment that were needed to make clinical MRI a reality.
Today, MRI scanners are used in hospitals all over the world and over 60 million investigations with MRI are carried out every year. Award of the Nobel Prize is testament to the profound impact that this eminent physicist’s work has had on the practice of medicine.
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