A Physicist's Adventures in Magnetic Resonance or Crossing Disciplines is (mostly) rewarding!

If you have ever had an MRI, you can thank in part the research that my colleagues and I performed at Oxford in the 1970’s. As a physics undergraduate at St. Catz, I received a superb grounding in electromagnetism that has been a vital, consistent and reliable anchor throughout my career, generating numerous research opportunities in unrelated fields. However, if someone had told me then that I would journey first into biochemistry to obtain my doctorate, then into biomedical engineering and radiology, and in the process live in the United States, the Netherlands and finally Winnipeg, Canada, I would have questioned their sanity. Notwithstanding, my offbeat voyage has been, for the most part, deeply rewarding, sometimes pivoting on seemingly minor observations, a case of cognitive dissonance and twice an unhealthy dollop of abject political ignorance.

The essence of crossing disciplines is the very different perspective it brings. In my talk I shall therefore discuss how carrying physics across boundaries influenced the development of both in-vivo NMR (MRS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but also led to disagreement that ultimately advanced understanding of the origins of the MR signal itself.

David Hoult has an international reputation in magnetic resonance (MR) research and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold Medal of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, of which he is a founding member. He has published over eighty papers, is co-author of a well-received book on MR technology and has delivered internationally over 100 lectures. He has been both an Associate Editor and on the Editorial Board of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and a member of the editorial boards of several other journals, including The Review of Scientific Instruments. His most recent research has focussed on the quantum origins of the MR signal and the design of calibrated MR instrumentation using radio-frequency feedback techniques.