Main content

Peter Mansfield

Sue Lawley's castaway is physicist Peter Mansfield.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the Nobel prize-winning physicist Sir Peter Mansfield. His work in magnetic resonance imaging more than 30 years ago led to the development of the MRI scanner, which has revolutionised the diagnosis of illness today.

He was born in London before the Second World War and as a boy, remembers the first Doodlebug attack on the capital. Watching the flying bombs gave him an interest in rocket propulsion which was to lead to a life-long career in science. The son of a gas-fitter, he left school without O levels at the age of 15. His school careers' officer had laughed at his ambition to be a scientist and fixed him up with a job as a printer. He put himself through night school, and went on to graduate with a first class degree in physics.

The first MRI scan was performed using him as the guinea-pig and with next-of-kin on hand because of the risks involved. His pioneering research was carried out at the University of Nottingham where he became Emeritus Professor of Physics. In 2003 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine at the age of 70.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Vltava Suite from Smetana's Má Vast by Bedrich Smetana
Book: Family photograph albums
Luxury: Helicopter

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 30 Jun 2006 09:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Gustav Holst

    Jupiter (from The Planets)

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Richard Cooke

    • The Ultimate Last Night of the Proms.
    • Tring.
  • Charles Trenet

    La Mer

    • Forces Sweethearts.
    • Hit Label.
  • William Walton

    Coronation March

    Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Sir Adrian Boult

    • Elgar & Walton: Marches and Orchestral Music.
    • EMI.
  • Heino

    Vom Barrette Schwankt die Feder

    • Fahrtenlieder-Album.
    • EMI.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Bedrich Smetana

      Vltava (The Moldau) (from Má vlast)

      Orchestra: Detroit Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Neeme Järvi

      • Smetana:Má Vlast- Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
      • Chandos.
  • Henry Purcell

    Abdelazar

    Orchestra: The Purcell Quartet

    • Purcell: Miscellany.
    • Chandos.
  • Perry Como

    Magic Moments

    • Perry Como: 20 Greatest Hits.
    • RCA.
  • Edward Elgar

    Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36: Variation IX "Nimrod"

    Orchestra: The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle

    • The Soundtrack from the film Crush.
    • EMI.
  • Book Choice

    • Family photograph albums

  • Luxury Choice

    • Helicopter

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Peter Mansfield

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?

Podcast