In 1952, Felix Bloch and Edward Purcell were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the description of the phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Over the years, NMR has been used in a wide range of fundamental studies in physics, and in the 1960s it became an important analytical tool in all branches of chemistry. Based on novel concepts and advances in instrumentation and computation, exciting developments in the early 1970s laid the foundations for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) being a key technique in medical diagnostics today, and for NMR spectroscopy being a widely applied technique in modern structural biology. Here, I will review some basic concepts that enabled these developments.
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Nuclear magnetic resonance — from molecules to man.
Wüthrich, K. (2003) Angew.Chem. Int. Ed. 42, 3340−3363.
NMR studies of structure and function of biological macromolecules (Nobel Lecture).