For the third time since 1951, scientists working in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance technology have been recognized by the Nobel Academy, with a British physicist and an American chemist this year taking home the prize for physiology or medicine.

The assembly, at Stockholm's Karolinska Institutet, named Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield as the 2003 laureates for work in the early 1970s, which provided the basis for the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a technique that has found a central role in modern medicine.

Lauterbur, born 1929, is a professor of Chemistry, Biophysics and Computational Biology, and Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During the early 1960s, he used nuclear magnetic resonance devices to develop carbon-13 spectroscopy and in the early 1970s, discovered the possibility of creating a two-dimensional image by introducing gradients in the magnetic field. In 1984, he was awarded the Lasker...

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