MRI pioneer Sir Peter Mansfield dies

By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer

February 9, 2017 -- Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield, PhD, who performed early research in nuclear magnetic resonance that led to the creation of MRI, died on February 8 at the age of 83, the University of Nottingham announced.

Mansfield was born in London in 1933 and joined the University of Nottingham in the U.K. as a physics lecturer in 1964. With collaborator Paul Lauterbur, PhD, he used nuclear magnetic resonance to image the internal structure of objects, visualizing a human finger in 1976. Mansfield retired from the university in 1994.

In 2003, Mansfield and Lauterbur shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their contributions to the development of MRI. But the award also prompted controversy when U.S. physician Dr. Raymond Damadian was snubbed by the Nobel Committee, despite early work he performed using nuclear magnetic resonance that was contemporaneous with the work done by Mansfield and Lauterbur.

Damadian went on to sponsor a contentious public relations campaign criticizing the Nobel Committee's decision. The controversy continued to simmer years later, such as when a Damadian ally gave a talk at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in 2014 criticizing the Nobel Committee's decision.

Sir Peter Mansfield, PhD
Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield, PhD.

In addition to his early work in MRI, Mansfield also invented echo-planar imaging, which is the key to functional MRI, the University of Nottingham said.

His scientific contributions have had great influence, said Vice Chancellor Sir David Greenaway in a statement.

"Few people can look back on a career and conclude that they have changed the world," Greenaway said. "As a scientific leader and a highly prized colleague, he will be greatly missed in our university. But he has left an extraordinary legacy which will continue to inspire others to change the world."

Mansfield is survived by his wife, two daughters, and four grandchildren. The university has set up an online book of condolence.

Copyright © 2017

To read this and get access to all of the exclusive content on create a free account or sign-in now.

Member Sign In:
MemberID or Email Address:  
Do you have a password?
No, I want a free membership.
Yes, I have a password:  
Forgot your password?
Sign in using your social networking account:
Sign in using your social networking