2003 Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to two MRI scientists

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Paul Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield will split $1.3 million following Monday's announcement that the pair will share this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Lauterbur, Ph.D., is a faculty member of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's College of Medicine. Mansfield, Ph.D., is a physics professor at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

The Nobel Committee cited Lauterbur's discovery that it is possible to create a 2D picture by introducing gradients in the magnetic field. By analysis of the characteristics of the emitted radio waves, he could determine their origin. This technique made it possible to build 2D pictures of structures that could not be visualized with other methods.

Mansfield also is credited with developing the utilization of gradients in the magnetic field to show how the signals could be mathematically analyzed, making it possible to develop a useful imaging technique. Mansfield also showed how extremely fast imaging could be achievable.