When the delivery comes by crane, it's a big deal, no matter what's in the box.
But the 14-ton magnet hoisted into place at the University of
Delaware's new Multi-Modal Imaging Center on East Delaware Avenue in the
frosty, early-morning hours of Tuesday, Jan. 12, is more than just a
shiny new thing.
Robert Simons, chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain
Sciences, calls it a "game changer" and he and James Hoffman, professor
of psychological and brain sciences and interim director of the new
center, were among a small assembly of witnesses who waited four hours
to see the magnet's grand entrance.
The after-midnight installation included 17 crates of electronics and
other materials needed for operation of the MRI, according to Tim
August of Bancroft Construction Co. A 120-ton crane was used to move the
magnet and several other components into place.
The Siemens-built fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) device
is a powerful new resource for researchers campuswide, statewide, and
throughout the region, offering new interdisciplinary possibilities for
those in health sciences, engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, and
many other fields.
It will be the only research-dedicated fMRI device in Delaware,
Simons said. To do the kind of work this magnet makes possible,
researchers often travel to the University of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia or to the University of Maryland in College Park. The cost,
in money and time, is high.
UD's new magnet, built in Germany, has a 3-Tesla power rating, which
makes it about twice as strong as most clinical MRI devices, and is
designed to provide high-resolution images of everything from brain
activity to muscles, discs, bones and organs, to name just a few
The imaging is done by ingenious manipulation of hydrogen atoms,
triggered by a series of interactions between the magnet and radio