Sveinsson primarily focuses on developing methods for performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at low magnetic fields.
Low field MRIs are less expensive than traditional MRIs, making them a better potential option for imaging in underserved areas such as rural regions and developing countries.
These machines are also more portable than traditional MRI scanners, which could enable MRI in challenging situations, such as in ambulances or on battlefields. To achieve this, Sveinsson and his team are working on developing novel devices, efficient measurement strategies and advanced data processing algorithms.
Who is your scientific role model?
As an electrical engineer, I hold Claude Shannon in great esteem. I also have high regard for Freeman Dyson, not only because of his scientific achievements but also for his contrarianism, wit and breadth of knowledge.
What do you hope to accomplish with your science in the next five years?
Hopefully I will have helped bring low-field MRI into the mainstream, allowing medical imaging in situations currently considered outside the scope of MRI, as well as bending the medical cost curve.
What is one thing that you wish more people understood about science?
I would stress the value of sometimes pursuing science for pure intellectual curiosity about the workings of nature without necessarily having a clear end goal with practical applications. Many of the world’s most important discoveries have come about as byproducts of such scientific journeys.
What science movies (dramas/comedies/documentaries) do you like and why?
Recently, I have liked Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian. I also liked From the Earth to the Moon, a miniseries produced by Tom Hanks.