Early MRI technology on display now at the UCSF Library

The UCSF Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit at the UCSF Library, Vision for the Future: Advancing MRI Technology at UCSF’s Radiologic Imaging Laboratory, 1975-2000. The exhibit explores the pivotal role UCSF researchers played in developing imaging technology that revolutionized patient care and transformed the way we see our bodies. View material from the Radiologic Imaging Laboratory records housed in the UCSF Archives, including research notebooks, MRI coil prototypes, rare photographs, and more.

Join us April 5th at 12 noon for the exhibit’s official opening. Archivists will be on hand to answer any of your questions!

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MRI scale model and coil prototype on display.

The Radiologic Imaging Laboratory (RIL) was founded in the mid-1970s by a team of UCSF scientists and engineers. Their goal was to create a clinically viable diagnostic tool using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, later called MRI. Over the course of 25 years, the lab brought together venture capitalists, researchers, and clinicians to develop, evaluate, and market new imaging systems and instruments. The lab’s interdisciplinary approach and partnerships with private corporations, including Pfizer, Diasonics, and Toshiba, led to rapid innovation and numerous patents that continue to impact clinical care today.

Lab researchers and technicians Lawrence Crooks, Bob McCree, Ian Duff, and Roger Littlewood, circa 1981. Photograph collection.

RIL researchers and technicians Lawrence Crooks, Bob McCree, Ian Duff, and Roger Littlewood, circa 1981. Photograph collection.

The exhibit showcases just a fraction of the over 90 linear feet of engineering records, correspondence, and other material in the collection (call number MSS 2002-08). Through the generous support of RIL engineer, Dr. Lawrence E. Crooks, the UCSF Archives has processed the collection and created a detailed inventory available to researchers on the Online Archive of California. Archives staff have also made hundreds of documents and photographs from the collection available digitally on Calisphere, a public online portal.

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MRI coil on display.

The exhibit is located on the main floor (3rd floor) of the UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus Ave. It is free and open to the public during Library hours, April 2016-April 2017.

1 thought on “Early MRI technology on display now at the UCSF Library

  1. I think the photo with Larry Crooks et al was taken in Sept or Oct 1980 not 1981. This was the very first whole body superconducting MRI magnet. Larry and Bob were from RIL, and Ian and myself were from Oxford Instruments who manufactured this magnet.

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