Magnetic imaging scanner weighs 42 tons, equal to six elephants, will advance brain research
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WHAT: The University of Iowa has obtained one of the world’s most sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging instruments. The magnet, weighing 42 tons or the equivalent of six male adult elephants, will be lifted by crane and deposited in the new Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building on the UI campus.

Aerial view of where magnet will go
An aerial shot of the spot where a 42-ton magnet will be placed on Thursday inside the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building on the UI campus. Photo by Richard Lewis.

The 7 Tesla magnet will propel UI research forward by yielding clearer, higher-resolution images of the brain, thus enhancing researchers’ ability to study how the brain works. The UI is one of only about 20 research institutes in the United States— and only about 40 worldwide—with the instrument. It also is the most powerful magnetic imaging device in the state.

The UI purchased the scanner after winning an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

WHEN: Thursday, June 5, 10 a.m. to noon

WHERE: Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (currently under construction), off Newton Road, UI campus (see map). There will be a media zone near the site during the operation, for safety purposes. However, time will be allocated beginning at 10 a.m. for reporter stand-ups and filming of the magnet and the crane.

WHO: Vince Magnotta, associate professor in radiology and director of the UI’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility. Peg Nopoulos, a neuroscientist who studies brain structure and function in human diseases.


• Media must register to attend the event, due to space constraints and because it’s an active construction site.

• Individuals must wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and hard hats (which will be distributed on site). Anyone without the proper attire will not be permitted on the site.

• We will have pool footage of 1) Aerial shots of the magnet’s installation and 2) shots from inside the vault where the magnet will be placed by the crane.

CONTACT: Richard Lewis, Office of Strategic Communications,; 319-384-0012 (w); 401-662-6336 (cell); Twitter: @UIowaResearch

*Please note: Time may vary, depending on weather, crane assembly, and transit time for magnet, which is traveling by truck from Baltimore (after being shipped from the United Kingdom).