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MRI pioneer wins national physics prize

College Park, MD-September 21, 2005--With its ability to obtain detailed pictures from the depths of the living body, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has saved many lives and dramatically increased knowledge of the human body, particularly the brain. There are now more than 22,000 scanners worldwide performing some 60 million scans annually. But without the ingenuity of an industrial physicist and his colleagues, magnetic resonance would not have made its sudden jump in the early 1980s from esoteric laboratory research to a widely available technology.

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has named William Edelstein the winner of its Industrial Applications in Physics Prize "for his pioneering developments leading to commercialization of high-resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for medical applications." Sponsored by the General Motors Corporation and the AIP Corporate Associates, the prize will be given to Edelstein at the 2005 Industrial Physics Forum, being held from November 6-8 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Edelstein's critical contributions to MRI began at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland from 1977-80 where he collaborated in constructing one of the first whole-body scanners and was the primary inventor of the "Spin Warp" imaging method that is still used in all commercial MRI systems.

In the fall of 1980, he joined the GE Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenectady, NY. At the time, GE was focused on CT scans, still widely used today, which makes images of the body's interior by using x rays. Nonetheless, his boss, Rowland "Red" Redington, encouraged Edelstein and a small group of GE scientists to investigate medical magnetic resonance technology.

The initial aim of the GE effort was to develop clinical MR "spectroscopy," which would obtain important biochemical information from inside the body. To pursue this application, they purchased a supe
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Contact: Ben Stein
bstein@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
21-Sep-2005


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