Colloq Abstract - Sodickson

September 8, 2023

11:00am Mountain

Daniel Sodickson (NYU)


Inner Space and Outer Space: A crash course in the history and future of medical imaging, for radio astronomers



The fundamental human urge to extend our vision has resulted in the notably distinct but at root highly connected fields of astronomy and medical imaging.  Whereas astronomy sets its sights on outer space, medical imaging delves into inner space.  This presentation will introduce some of the key means by which medical imagers gain access to the insides of things.  I will first survey the history of medical imaging broadly defined, illustrating some of the fundamental principles of operation of the key cross-sectional imaging modalities used in modern medicine: namely, CT, PET, Ultrasound, and MRI.  There is a particular kinship between radio astronomy and MRI, which exploit a shared area of the electromagnetic spectrum, operate in analogous signal spaces, and have a common structure to their inverse problems. I will therefore proceed to focus in on MRI, explaining key principles from a perspective that I hope will resonate with radio astronomers.  I will introduce MRI hardware in three simple steps, illustrate the structure and information content of the MR signal, summarize approaches to image formation, and explore some of the limits of performance of MR methods.  Then, in the end, I will briefly zoom back out to consider the future of medical imaging, assessing how our access to inner space may change with the advent of artificial intelligence and other surprising new technologies and transforms.


Local Host: Sanjay Bhatnagar