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Tuesday, 09 September 2008 11:54

New article challenges typical teaching of MRI

A new article entitled "Is Quantum Mechanics necessary for understanding Magnetic Resonance?" is published in Concepts in Magnetic Resonance part A. It concludes that many popular presentations of the magnetic resonance phenomenon are rooted in misinterpretations of Quantum Mechanics. In particular, there is little basis for the typical non-intuitive claim that spins align parallel or anti-parallel to an applied magnetic field.

The article points out a number of myths and argues that Magnetic Resonance is best understood in classical terms since the phenomenon is well described by classical mechanics that have shaped the human intuition. That said, there are aspects of Magnetic Resonance that require a detailed knowledge of quantum mechanics to be understood, but those are well outside the scope of MRI examinations. Nevertheless, most introductory MRI tutorials introduces Magnetic Resonance  as a quantum phenomenon, and consequently also contributes significantly to the confusion that new students of the subject are facing.

 Selected reader and reviewer comments:

  • "This is an interesting paper that would definitely be of use to students of magnetic resonance imaging, particularly those who are not trained in physics (which is a significant number).  The author has focused on an aspect of MR education that has always been a problem, both in the way it is taught, and the effects that this teaching has on students' understanding....".  Reviewer.
  • "Fantastic article! This really addresses the foundations of MR teaching.......I above all appreciate how you do away with the mind-boggling concept of coherence, which presents such a formidable hurdle in understanding MR."    S.S, Ph.D., USA
  • "...Your article will be very useful for me, as the software too. I will use it in my next NMR course...."   M.S., Brazil
  • "...Your paper, in conjunction with the book of Dr. Levitt, switched my views from the incorrect depictions to the correct, largely classical, views shown in your manuscript...."   R.G. Ph.D. USA
  • "...I do not think you can even start explaining high resolution NMR spectroscopy without resorting to QM..."    S.S., Ph.D., Italy
  • "This is just to express my delight over your recent paper on the criticism of the two-cone model and related issues! For many years now I have repeatedly and emphatically encouraged students in NMR to forget about the two-cone model entirely, but it felt like working against a cultural dogma that has infiltrated almost the whole basic NMR literature.....I think that your paper is a great example of …. well, actually of many things, but what I mean to say now is that it represents a "corrected" way of looking at a fundamental issue, and in my mind in that respect it is an important and excellent scientific result in its own right...."    C.S, Ph.D., Hungary

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