Friday, 28 December 2012


      Brian's name was not included in the list of Guys Alumni sent to me by the Kings College Alumni Office.     Neither was he listed by Mike Crowe who had organised previous reunions of our year so I rather put his name into the pending file to investigate later.    As it happens 'later' proved to be quite recently when I was asked about him by one of our colleagues.   I used 'Google' to obtain the transcript of  an Obituary (following Brian's death on 9th December 2007) which was published in the British Journal of Radiology; some of which has been plagiarised below.
      Brian Worthington's death in 2007 was a great loss for British Radiology and for Medicine generally.   A true scientist, he was one of the pioneers of clinical magnetic resonance imaging producing much of the seminal work during the early development of MRI in the 1970s.   For this he was very properly elected to the Fellowship of The Royal Society - a rare honour for a medical man and an even rarer for a practicing radiologist.    Many other awards were received including a string of Gold medals and other awards from various societies and Colleges in the UK and North America.

  Brian was born on June 9th 1938.   I did not know him well in the preclinical phase at Guys except that he was quiet and extremely able, going on to do a BSc in Physiology and thereby dropping back a year for the clinical phase.    I was initially very surprised that he did not become a houseman at Guys but then realised that he may well have upset some of the Clinical staff at Guys by knowing rather more than they did about the scientific aspects of medicine and telling them so!      Brian was not one to "butter up" the bosses.

    After qualifying he trained in Radiology and then won the Rohan Williams Medal for his outstanding performance in the the final Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists.   He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998.
    His original post in Nottingham and Derby was ostensibly that of a Neuro-radiologist and in the days before CT he was heavily involved with interventional techniques and nuclear medicine studies of the brain.   However he was ideally placed to become involved with the emerging technique of 'nuclear magnetic resonance' and there were several outstanding M R scientists on the Nottingham campus.
    Because of his expertise he was strongly supported by the Department of Health and various industrial collaborators to whom he gave freely of his time.   This led to the establishment of a Professorial University Department in Nottingham.   He helped facilitate the clinical studies which contributed to the emergence of Nottingham as a leading centre of magnetic resonance imaging (viz Sir Peter Mansfield's Nobel Prize).

    It was not until after I had been appointed to the Chair of Pathology in Nottingham in 1982 that I became aware of the importance of what Brian was doing.   We both found the work required by a full time academic post whilst carrying a heavy NHS clinical load very demanding.   From time to time he would come round to my room in the University Hospital in the early evening when nearly everyone had departed and we would discuss our plans for the future and local academic and hospital problems.   He was a loyal friend who I knew I could trust not to pass on private matters and vice versa.

  He had a great love of Iceland and the other Nordic countries and gradually became immersed in their culture.   He visited whenever he could and had honorary membership of both Icelandic and Finnish Radiological Societies.  

  It was sad that his well-deserved retirement with his wife Margaret,at their home not far from Derby, was cut short by pancreatic cancer, an illness which he bore with great dignity.  
                                                                                                                                                                   ( Compiled by David Turner using the photograph and parts of the text from an Obituary prepared by Adrian K Dixon, Cambridge )

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