back at the main protagonists involved in MR imaging is vital for an understanding
of the development of the modality. The topic is interesting, but for some
people rather sensitive. This is a short and incomplete introduction to the
topic MR imaging in medicine.
two most important scientists for the development of magnetic resonance imaging
were Erik Odeblad who first described
the differences of relaxation times in human tissue and Paul
C. Lauterbur who invented MR imaging. However, like any history, the history
of MR imaging has no real beginning: "Everything flows and nothing stays,"
as Heraklitos pointed out and writing about history is a permanent
"Work-in-Progress". A very nice overview of magnetism and medicine
was written by Manuel R. Mourino [
hinting to magnetism date back to the first centuries BC, among them the writings
of Lucretius and Pliny the Elder. Pliny (23-79 AD) wrote of a hill near the river
Indus that was made entirely of a stone that attracted iron (Figure 20-01: "There
be two mountains near the River Indus ...").
also mentioned the 'magical powers' of magnetite that kept haunting mankind through
relation between electricity and magnetism was finally proved by Hans Christian
Oersted (1777-1851; picture) in 1820 when during a university lecture he
deflected the needle of a magnetic compass by holding a charged wire next
to it, thus producing magnetic field.
finding influenced French physicist André-Marie Ampère's and
British James Clerk Maxwell's research on electricity and magnetism.
major contribution to magnetic resonance can be found in Napoleon's realm.
Fourier (1768-1830; picture) served three years as the secretary of the Institut
d'Egypte at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and later became prefect
of the Isère département in France. However,
the focus of his life was mathematics, and without his Fourier transform we
would not be able to create MR images.