Weston Anderson

Viking Valor

Weston Anderson

by Kelsey Olson

Weston Anderson, a graduate of the KHS class of 1946, has been a leading contributor in the field of scientific advancement by paving the way to the modern MRI.

In fact, Anderson created the approach that improved to the NMR and was later applied to the MRI. His contributions lead to the application of NMR to the MRI by scientist Richard Ernst and him being awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Anderson was born in Kingsburg in 1928 and attended Kingsburg schools. At an early age, Anderson cultivated a strong interest in science. Throughout high school, he was fascinated with the inner workings of radios. As a result, the music store in town gave him old radios that he disassembled and reassembled discovering the electronics of the machines and how they functioned.

He learned so much about these devices that before graduating from high school, Anderson earned his commercial radio license and radio amatuer liscene that he still maintains them today. In high school there was one teacher, Gilbert Ewan, that sparked a particular interest in Anderson to explore science further and possibly at the prestigious Stanford University.

After graduating from Kingsburg High, Anderson enrolled at Reedley College for two years and then continued to Stanford. It was there that Anderson majored in physics and minored in electrical engineering and math. He went on to earn his Masters and Ph. D in Physics.

Weston was inspired by his Nobel Prize winning professor, Felix Bloch who had worked on the team to develop the NMR. After graduating he traveled to Geneva and continued to study and analyze the chemical properties of magnets. While there he continued to conduct research correlating to the NMR.

Upon return to the States, Anderson went on to work at the Varian Associates (VA) in Palo Alto and continued his studies of MNR. Soon after, famous scientist Richard Ernst joined the team working at VA. It was here that Anderson, discovered the method that ultimately led to the sensitivity of the commercial NMR.

The discovery of the NMR that is still in use today was made by Ernst while Anderson was abroad. Ernst used the method that Anderson had created it and applied it to the MIR. This cut down the amount of time it took to image humans. Putting Ernst and Anderson at the forefront of medical science discovery.

For this application of methods and other discoveries, Ernst was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry. Anderson received an invitation and an all expense paid trip to Stockholm with his wife to see the award ceremony. Though Anderson did not directly receive the Nobel Prize himself, he was one of the major steps to the success of the modern MRI and medicine and general medicine.

He eventually went on to retire to Palo Alto with his wife and children. Anderson and his wife return to the annual Swedish Festival every year and with that present one Kingsburg Graduate with the Weston Anderson Science Scholarship, worth $10000. This scholarship available to any student that is hoping to pursue a career in a scientific field.

“It’s such a significant gift that allows students to pursue their dreams. Through their generosity, many of our students have been able to pursue a future in science,” commented Head counselor Marlene Pavlina.

All in all, Anderson has greatly given back to the community from which he came and has also been at the forefront of scientific discovery and inquiry. Anderson has been able to show the true embodiment of Vikings and the Viking way through courage, perseverance, and diligence.

To read about Viking Valor Alumni, please click below.

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