Is Quantum Mechanics Necessary for Understanding Magnetic Resonance?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Educational material introducing magnetic resonance (MR) typically contains sections on the underlying principles. Unfortunately the explanations given are often unnecessarily complicated or even wrong. MR is often presented as a phenomenon that necessitates a quantum mechanical explanation whereas it really is a classical effect, i.e. a consequence of the common sense expressed in classical mechanics. This insight is not new, but there have been few attempts to challenge common misleading explanations, so authors and educators are inadvertently keeping myths alive. As a result, new students’ first encounters with MR are often obscured by explanations that make the subject difficult to understand. Typical problems are addressed and alternative intuitive explanations are provided.
Keyword: Tutorial,Classical mechanics,Education,Myths,Quantum mechanics,Spin,Magnetic resonance imaging;
Original languageEnglish
JournalConcepts in Magnetic Resonance. Part A
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)329-340
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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