In an earlier post Thomas wrote that the CT scanner could seem anonymous for the superficial view. No immediate presence effects. But a closer look revealed that this was certainly not the case.

The same could be said about the MRI scanner: ‘No immediate presence effects’. But also in this case a closer look will reveal that the MRI scanner has a lot of ‘presence effects’. The recent post on Imre Kissík’s and András Székely’s ‘Indulge in the fascinating world of radiology and nuclear medicine’ blog displays some YouTube movies. In a splendid catastrophic way they show some of the powerful physical presence effects of the MRI scanner. Primarily the heaviness and the volatility of the inner contents of the MRI scanner, both related to the powerful inner electromagnet. Which uses liquid helium to make the coil superconducting. That’s the way the electromagnet becomes as powerful as possible.

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This inspired me to look after additional YouTube movies, which show more of the powerful physical ‘presence effects’ of the MRI scanner. There are a lot of them. Here are some examples which all more or less show a catastrophic interaction between the MRI scanner and some other objects. There are some accidental and some planned ‘experiments’. Some are when the MRI scanner is in operation. Some are not. The MRI scanner shows its awesome powerful presence in interaction with objects of the surrounding physical world.

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This was a selection. There are a lot more of these YouTube videos to be found.

An operating MRI scanner is apparently too heavy and dangerous to be displayed as a museum object (for previous discussion of the subject see MR-scanners: Are they attractive as museum objects?). But a medical museum could display an empty shell of a MRI scanner and show a collection of such movies as a supplement. This would make the awesome inner workings of the MRI scanner ‘alive’, emotionally involving and interesting for the museum visitors. Most important this could be the first steps on a way to engage the public in reflecting on the background and consequences of recent ‘big’ biomedical device technology.

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