Paul Lauterbur

From Molecules to Mice to Men and back again


Abstract

Nobel Prizes do not usually spring from unsuspected sources like mushrooms but from well-tilled soil. In my case it was from a long interest in molecular structures and properties dating back even before my days in high school, accompanied by work in my home laboratory. That led to further studies in high school and college, to a job in a research institute and part-time graduate work, and eventually to a faculty appointment in a university. When the observations, and the thoughts they stimulated of MRI occurred, I was already thoroughly familiar with the theory and practices of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and its applications and instrumentation, and ready to recognize the opportunity.

I seized it vigorously, and spent almost thirty years developing the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and promoting its uses, until I went back to “real” chemistry about the year 2000. Since then I have been pursuing a new idea, partly stemming from interests first developed in my ‘teens, on the chemical origin of Life, interrupted by the 2003 Nobel Prize.


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