Lauterbur, Paul C.

American scientist (1929-) who shared the 2003 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Sir Peter Mansfield for discoveries concerning “magnetic resonance imaging.” (Magnetic resonance imaging is better known perhaps as MRI). Lauterbur did his work first at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and then at the University of Illinois in Urbana where he is Professor of Chemistry, Biophysics and Computational Biology and Bioengineering.

Paul Lauterbur discovered the possibility to create a two-dimensional picture by introducing gradients in the magnetic field. By analysis of the characteristics of the emitted radio waves, he could determine their origin. This made it possible to build up two-dimensional pictures of structures that could not be visualized with other methods.

Lauterbur discovered that introduction of gradients in the magnetic field made it possible to create two-dimensional images of structures that could not be visualized by other techniques. In 1973, he described how addition of gradient magnets to the main magnet made it possible to visualize a cross section of tubes with ordinary water surrounded by heavy water. No other imaging method can differentiate between ordinary and heavy water.

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