Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Paul Christian Lauterbur - Pioneer in the development of magnetic resonance imaging

Lauterbur was born on May 6, 1929, in Sidney, Ohio, to Edward and Gertrude Lauterbur. Lauterbur’s father was an engineer and co-owner of a company that manufactured bread-making machinery.

At Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio, Paul enrolled in the industrial chemistry program where he learned all forms of science and engineering. Lauterbur received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962. He served as a professor at the University of New York at Stony Brook from 1969 to 1985.

He was drafted in 1953, spending most of his service at the Army Chemical Center, where he established a new nuclear MR (NMR) laboratory.

In 1971 during working at Stony Brook University, he created the first multi-dimensional image using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), he sparked a new age of medical technology and clinical care. NMR is a key tool in chemical analysis, using the absorption measurements to provide information about the molecular structure of various solids and liquids.

His discovery made it possible to get a clear look inside the human body without surgery or x-rays. The non-invasive technique was later improved for practical application by Peter Mansfield, an English physicist.

Lauterbur left Stony Brook in 1985 for the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he served until his death as a Professor in the College of Medicine and the Department of Chemistry.

Lauterbur and Mansfield shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003 for their work with MRI, now widely used.

Lauterbur died aged 77 in March 2007 of kidney disease at his home in Urbana, Illinois.
Paul Christian Lauterbur - Pioneer in the development of magnetic resonance imaging

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