Tributes paid to MRI pioneer Professor James Hutchison

Professor Hutchison's funeral will be held on Friday in Westhill, Aberdeenshire.

Health: Professor James Hutchison has been remembered as a 'true pioneer' of MRI technology. <strong>Aberdeen University</strong>
Health: Professor James Hutchison has been remembered as a 'true pioneer' of MRI technology. Aberdeen University

The inventor of the world’s first full body MRI scanner has died.

Professor James Hutchison, known as Jim, built the ‘Mark 1’ machine which successfully scanned its first patient on August 28, 1980.

He helped patent a “game-changing” technique, known as spin-warp imaging, which was adopted throughout the world.

Professor Steve Heys, head of Aberdeen University’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, hailed the scientist’s legacy.


He said: “Professor Hutchison will be remembered as a true pioneer of MRI technology.

“Along with the team around him, they were a group that have changed the face of medical imaging – an impact still felt today with the use of their techniques in modern MRI machines.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Meg, who herself was an accomplished MRI scientist at Aberdeen, at this sad time.”

The technology behind MRI was developed in the 1970s by a small number of teams worldwide, including academics at Aberdeen and Nottingham University.


But it was Professor Hutchison who built the first full-body scanner.

And along with a team that included Dr Bill Edelstein he developed spin-warp which changed the face of MRI research overnight.

Prof Hutchison attended Blairgowrie High School before completing a PhD at the University of St Andrews.

An expert in magnetic resonance he was appointed to the University of Aberdeen’s Medical Physics team in the 1960s.

Professor David Lurie, who first met him as a young researcher, said: “Without doubt he was the most capable scientist I ever met.

“He knew about everything.

“Not just about MRI, he had an incredibly broad knowledge of science and engineering.”


Prof Hutchison’s funeral will be held on Friday, September 14, at 11.30am in Westhill, Aberdeenshire.

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