Paul Lauterbur and the Invention of MRI
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The MIT Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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I first heard about the concept of NMR imaging from Paul Lauterbur one evening in December 1972 in midtown Manhattan. We were attend-ing a biological MR meeting and, as a number of attendees returned to our hotel from a reception, I happened to be walking with Paul. “ Ted, ” he said, “ you would be interested in this experiment I did with an A-60. ” ...
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I thank my editors, freelance editor Linda Carbone, for helping to turn my scribbles into a book, and acquisitions editor Susan Buckley and senior editor Deborah Cantor-Adams of the MIT Press for refining that book. So many wonderful people have helped with this project by talking to me about Paul and the early days of MRI, and reading sections of the ...
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Thomas Huxley in his inaugural address on becoming president of the Royal Society in 1883 observed, “ What an enormous revolution would be made in biology if physics or chemistry could supply the physiologist with a means of making out the molecular structure of living tissues comparable to that which the spectroscope affords to the inquirer into ...
1 Epiphany in a Hamburger
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On September 2, 1971, Paul Lauterbur was at the site of NMR Special-ties, a company he had helped to found, in New Kensington, Pennsylva-nia, when a potential customer showed up. In his attempt to save the floundering company, Paul had been flying to New Kensington at the beginning of each week and back to his family and students at Stony ...
2 Portrait of a Scientist as a Young Man
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Science is conducted in as many ways as there are scientists. What may be Paul ’ s most important gift is illustrated by an experience during his freshman year in high school. He was looking at a chemistry book and came across a description of how the carbon content of a substance being burned determines the color of the flame. He was mortally chagrined, ...
3 Study, Work, and War
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Like all other arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only In 1947, Edward ’ s advice to his college-bound son was to enroll as an engineering student. “ Dad didn ’ t know what a scientist could do, ” Paul said, “ but there was always work for an engineer. ” So off he went to the engineering program at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, now ...
4 Early Breakthroughs
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The works of God are not like the Tricks of Jugglers or the Pageants that enter-Over the years, Paul received many awards and honors for his scientific work, almost all of them for his invention of magnetic resonance imaging in 1971. But some awards cite much earlier work, calling him “ truly the father of heteronuclear NMR. ” These were especially gratifying, because ...
5 The 1960s
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Paul left Pittsburgh in 1963 for the nascent chemistry faculty of Stony Brook. Shortly after Rose Mary followed, and their marriage ran into trouble. Rose Mary and Paul ’ s fifth wedding anniversary took place the day President Kennedy was shot. Rose Mary dates the beginning of her marriage problems and her illness from that time. Paul told her he had ...
6 The First Fruitful Weeks
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Science, if it is to flourish, must have no practical end in view. Life is so strange. It was because of the tortured history of NMR Special-ties that Paul happened to be on hand to witness the experiments that raised in his mind the possibility of magnetic resonance imaging. Paul was always squeamish about everything medical and biological, every-...
7 The Worldwide Laboratory
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Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody There never was an old theory of MRI; it was born whole. Paul once gave a talk titled “ Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Why It Takes So Long to Understand Simple Things. ” From 1946, once the phenomenon of NMR was understood any knowledgeable person could have invented ...
8 Baby Grows Up
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The British, Raymond Andrew ’ s and Peter Mansfield ’ s laboratories at Nottingham and then John Mallard ’ s at Aberdeen, picked up first on Paul ’ s new ideas about imaging with NMR and were largely responsible for its development in the early years. Things happened more or less this way. Peter Mansfield entered the medical imaging business from an ...
9 Among the Corn Fields
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Let me backtrack a bit to fill in the picture at home. We were married on July 3, 1984, on Long Island Sound, in a garden ceremony on a cliff overlooking the water. Nothing could have been more propitious, except perhaps the date of July 4, which Paul had wanted, so that the whole country would forever celebrate our anniversary. Along with our public ...
10 The End and the Beginning
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There was always something serendipitous, even wild, about Paul Lauterbur ’ s When I was a graduate student in the 1970s at the University of Penn-sylvania, I knew a legendary figure who had made significant contribu-tions to the study of mitochondria that he and many others thought was Nobel-worthy. Stories had it that every year when the Nobel Prize in ...
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Paul himself summarized his life as an experimental scientist, in reminis-cences about his childhood laboratory in the basement of his parents ’ Many strange results and invaluable experience with laboratory work, but no real discoveries, came from this work, although I still do not understand the results of some of those experiments of almost 50 years ago. And I suspect if I ...
Appendix A: The Notebook, September 1971
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Appendix B: Magnetography, October 1971
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Appendix C: Draft Disclosure, August 1972
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013