Mallard system Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) body scanner, 1983.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made by M & D Technology, Aberdeen, Scotland. This machine was installed at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London in 1983 and used clinically until 1993. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a major improvement in diagnostic information, compared to that available using X-rays. In August 1980, Professor John Mallard and his team at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary used a machine like this to obtain the first clinically useful MRI image of a patient. They were one of six scientific teams working to extend the technique of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, already used in laboratories for chemical identification, to produce medical pictures for the diagnosis of disease. MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images which 'map' the distribution and utilisation of water within the body.