John F. Schenck

Class of 1961
MRI Pioneer
(1939- )

John Schenck was a key member of the research team at General Electric that developed the first clinically viable high-field MRI scanner. An emergency room physician as well as a research scientist, Schenck became the first researcher at General Electric to work full time with magnetic resonance imaging. He served as a principal leader on the team that proposed using a magnet rated at 1.5 tesla, more than five times as high as had previously been used for whole-body human imaging. In 1982 his team produced the first high-field MRI prototype and Schenck, himself, became the subject of the first high-field magnetic resonance brain scan. This high-field strength, along with key scanner components developed by his team, became industry standards for MRI, and the technology has become a vital and widely used innovation now basic to medical practice. Schenck is an authority on MRI safety whose published works have served as a guide to the industry in how it is regulated and managed.