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Celebrating the Birth of MRI

The Stony Brook Department of Chemistry commemorates the first construction of an image by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance by Prof. Paul Lauterbur at the University at Stony Brook thirty years ago. Ths work led to the awarding of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Medicine to Professor Lauterbur.

Prof. Lauterbur

The instrument on which Lauterbur performed this critical experiment was a Varian A-60 NMR spectrometer capable of detecting protons at 60 MHz. That very same instrument is in a permanent display in the lobby of the Graduate Chemistry building.

The ability to perform non-invasive imaging of the interior of living organisms using nuclear magnetic resonance is one of the most important medical discoveries of the twentieth century.

Prof. Lauterbur left Stony Brook in 1985 to become the director of the Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory at the University of Illinois. While the MRI technique has become a commonplace diagnostic tool for the routine examination of soft tissues, research in this area of scientific endeavor continues to produce amazing results.

The commemoration/dedication ceremony of the instrument display took place on Friday, April 26, 1996.

Prof. Lauterbur passed away in April, 2007. The Department of Chemistry held a memorial symposium, "Lauterbur's Legacy: Looking at Life" A Memorial Symposium" in his honor on September 7, 2007.

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