2003: Sir Peter Mansfield
Mansfield (University of Nottingham) won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of how the natural magnetic properties of the cell can be used to produce images of structures. This led to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a breakthrough for medical diagnostics and research because it is safer and can be more sensitive than X-rays.
Imaging of human internal organs with exact and non-invasive methods is important for medical diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, for example, in cancer and before surgery. Now, 60 million MRI investigations are performed worldwide each year. Commercialisation has led to a multi-billion pound industry.