1946, two scientists in the United States, independently of each other, described
a physicochemical phenomenon which was based upon the magnetic properties of certain
nuclei in the periodic system. This was 'nuclear magnetic resonance', for short
Bloch, Hanson, Packard;
Purcell, Torrey, Pound].
two scientists, Edward M. Purcell and Felix Bloch, were awarded the Nobel Prize
in Physics in 1952.
(1912-1997) was born in Illinois in the United States of America and studied at
Purdue University in Indiana. After a research year at the Karlsruhe Technical
University in Germany, he worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance absorption was made just after the end
of the World War II when he became Professor of Physics at Harvard. As Bloch's
paper it was published in Physical Review in early 1946.
(1905-1983) was born in Zurich and taught at the University of Leipzig until 1933;
he then emigrated to the United States and was naturalized in 1939. He joined
the faculty of Stanford University at Palo Alto in 1934 and became the first director
of CERN in Geneva in 1962. In 1983 he died in Zurich.
Purcell Bloch were protagonists for the interaction between Europe and the United
States. NMR and MRI would not exist without this interaction.
some stage of their career, many European scientist contemplate emigration to
the USA. Some
move transatlantic and some even stay for good. Others return. There is hardly
any movement in the other direction. The historical reasons were different prior
to and after the Second World War. Before the war, plain survival for many depended
on emigration, or it was at least guided by political necessity. It was the attraction
of the Statue of Liberty which made scientists move westward.
the war, research facilities in the United States were more attractive than those
in Europe because the academic system in the USA was more flexible than the university
structures in Europe and dollars were plentiful for research and for personal