STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 6 -- American Paul C. Lauterbur and Briton Peter Mansfield received the 2003 Nobel Prize for medicine today for their discoveries in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Lauterbur, director of the Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, discovered it was possible to create a 2-D picture by introducing gradients in the magnetic field. By analyzing the characteristics of the emitted radio waves, he could determine their origin. This made it possible to build 2-D pictures of structures that could not be visualized with other methods.
Mansfield, an emeritus professor with the Magnetic Resonance Centre at the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, further developed the use of gradients in the magnetic field. He showed how the signals could be mathematically analyzed, which made it possible to develop a useful imaging technique. Mansfield also showed how extremely fast imaging could be achieved. This became technically possible in the medical field a decade later.
The pair were lauded for their seminal discoveries in the use of magnetic resonance to visualize different structures, which led to the development of modern MRI, considered a breakthrough in medical diagnostics and research.
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