MRI pioneer Lauterbur dies

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MRI pioneer Paul C. Lauterbur died last week at his home in Urbana, Ill. at the age of 77. Lauterbur was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2003 for his work in the development of magnetic resonance imaging.

He worked on the faculty of the University of Illinois staring in 1985, and shared the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine with physicist Sir Peter Mansfield of the University of Nottingham in England.

Lauterbur was one of the first scientists to use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the study of molecules, solutions and solids. In the early 1970s he began applying the same technology to biological organisms.

For Mansfield’s part, he worked to improve the use of magnetic gradients and demonstrated ways in which the resulting signals could be mathematically analyzed.

"Through his life and his work, Paul Lauterbur exemplified the ideals of the University of Illinois -- creativity, passion, tenacity, and most importantly, commitment to mankind," said Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus. "Paul's influence is felt around the world every day, every time an MRI saves the life of a daughter or a son, a mother or a father. He will be greatly missed."