Hounsfield and EMI

Peter Mansfield

in The Long Road to Stockholm

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199664542
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191758461 | DOI:
Hounsfield and EMI

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One of their papers was picked up by Hugh Clow at EMI Central Research Laboratories in Hayes, Middlesex. He was invited down to present a talk. Godfrey Hounsfield had recently invented the CT x-ray scanner. He gave his talk and by chance met Hounsfield who showed great interest in NMR imaging. He was later taken on by EMI as an imaging consultant. On a subsequent visit he showed them the finger images which they were able to colour code for him to present at Conferences. In the early 1970’s the Medical Research Council convened a meeting of a number of MRI groups that had sprung up, including those in Nottingham and Aberdeen, to discuss possible future funding. He took their coloured finger images and surprised the meeting, chaired by Sir Rex Richards. He was invited to submit a grant application that was for the expansion of image size from finger to whole body. This was accepted eventually and in 1977 a whole body electro-magnet was made by Oxford Instruments and delivered during the Christmas break of that year. The whole imaging system was built and their first images obtained early in 1978. By April they had produced images of a number of large objects including human cadaver tissue. Finally, the day before Peter Morris and the author were due to fly to Blacksburg, Virginia, he climbed in the magnet to be imaged. Just a week earlier Tom Budinger had sent him a letter saying that the gradient they were about to use could trigger cardiac fibrillation. He called for one pulse and felt nothing. An abdominal image was produced. They took the flight and arrived in Blacksburg the following day and had the film developed and slides mounted. He gave his talk but did not feel right. The feeling persisted for the duration of the Conference. He flew on to North Western University to give a talk but felt so bad he cancelled the engagement the next day and flew home to rest a while. He later received a letter from John Waugh inviting him to write a piece on NMR imaging. This evolved in to a book “NMR Imaging in Biomedicine” co-authored by Peter Morris. Meanwhile, Raymond Andrew invited him to join him in a research grant application to the Wolfson Foundation.

Keywords: EMI Research Laboratories; Hounsfield; MRC meeting; Sir Rex Richards; Blacksburg; feeling ill

Chapter.  4693 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Physics

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