Science Book a Day Interviews M Joan Dawson

M Joan Dawson

Special thanks to M Joan Dawson for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – Paul Lauterbur and the Invention of MRI

Professor M Joan Dawson is Associate Professor Emerita of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois.

#1 – Can you tell me the impetus you had for writing this book?

I wrote the book because I thought it should be written and that as Paul’s wife and colleague I was in a good position to write it.   On a very personal note, I decided to write the book when Paul became sick with his terminal illness.   Working on the book was a way of increasing our togetherness during that period.

#2 – Paul Lauterbur was your husband. When people read your book, what kind of man are you trying to show them?

I am not trying to show any “kind of man.”   I tried to be as honest as I could and I leave it to readers to judge both him and myself.

#3 – The history of MRI was full of controversy, both in terms of technicality and personality. What research did you do to prepare for this book?

You note that MRI was full of controversy through the years.   As a researcher in in vivo spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging I was a witness to those years.   As to my specific preparations for the book, I talked to a lot of people and read a lot. I spent two years arranging Paul’s papers which I donated to the Chemical Heritage Foundation and I learned a lot from that exercise.

#4 – How did Paul feel about the eventual success of MRI and its wide usage in medicine?

Paul often said that among the most satisfying moments of his life was when people would tell him how much they or a loved one had been helped by MRI.

#5 – Are you working on further books or projects that you can tell us about?

I am now back to doing science.

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