Image of cardboard tube MRI scanner released

  • Published
Sir Peter Mansfield inside a cardboard tubeImage source, University of Nottingham
Image caption,
Sir Peter Mansfield showing, by use of a cardboard tube, how the scanner would work

Previously unseen images of the pioneer of the MRI scanner have been released including one showing him inside a cardboard model of the machine.

Sir Peter Mansfield led a University of Nottingham team that created Magnetic Resonance Imaging, generating 3D images of the body's internal organs.

Sir Peter, who died in 2017, was the first to use a whole-body MRI scanner in 1978 to prove it was safe to use.

A new archive about the machine's history is based at the university.

Image source, university of nottingham
Image caption,
Sir Peter also worked on a human-powered flight machine but it failed to take off

The images were unearthed as part of the project and includes one of the first magnets used in an MRI machine.

The University of Nottingham said about 200 boxes of papers, slides, photographs and films have been sifted through to catalogue.

New digital images have also been made from original 33mm slides of the first ever MRI scans of the human body.

Image source, University of Nottingham
Image caption,
Peter Mansfield (right) and a technician demonstrating a spherical magnet

The collection also contains research papers, notes, audio recordings and patents which Sir Peter applied for relating to his inventions.

"The University of Nottingham played a world-leading role in the development of MRI," said Mark Dorrington, the keeper of manuscripts and special collections.

Image source, University of Nottingham
Image caption,
Early MRI brain scans produced by the scanner
Image source, University of Nottingham
Image caption,
A magnet used in early MRI experiments in Nottingham

"It has been a truly fascinating project to see how the story of MRI unfolded here in Nottingham and we are delighted to have played a part in preserving its legacy for the future."

He added the collection will enable researchers "to tell the story of the development of this important technological process".

Sir Peter, who grew up in Lambeth, south London, joined the University of Nottingham as a physics lecturer in 1964 and remained there until his retirement 30 years later.

He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003 for his work on the scanner.

A special research workshop relating to the collection will take place at the University of Nottingham on 9 January and the first MRI machine is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.

Image source, University of Nottingham
Image caption,
Professor Sir Peter Mansfield pioneered MRI technology

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.