Jean Jeener, 1931 – 2023

July 24th, 2023 by

Jean Jeener at the 1998 International Symposium at the Université Libre de Bruxelles organized for the occasion of his retirement

The Magnetic Resonance community mourns the passing of Prof. Jean Louis Charles Jeener on June 10, 2023 at the age of 91 after a short illness.

Jean introduced two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy and proposed the COSY technique in a lecture at the AMPERE Summer School in Basko Polje, Yugoslavia, September 1971, which was then experimentally demonstrated by Richard R. Ernst. Later, Jean also introduced the NOESY experiment.

His research interest in NMR started with spin thermodynamics and dynamics in solids (“Jeener-Broekaert sequence” for observing dipolar order in solids), progressively extending towards two-dimensional spectroscopy in liquids, superoperators, peak shapes in the presence of molecular rearrangements, the formulation of pulse spectroscopy with full quantization of the field, radiation damping and dipolar field effects in liquids.

Jean was professor of Physics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles from 1960 until he retired in 1996.

Among many distinctions, Jean received the ISMAR Prize in 2001, the Prix Quinquennal of the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Ampère Prize, the Russell Varian Prize, the Otto Stern Prize, and was an ISMAR fellow.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

The following tribute was written by Guy Lippens, Paul Broekaert, and Alain Vlassenbroek

Jean Jeener was born in 1931. He obtained Chemistry and Physics degrees from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in 1953 and 1954. He earned a PhD with Prof I. Prigogine, later Chemistry Nobel Prize winner for his contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which was followed by a postdoctoral stay with Prof. N. Bloembergen, one of the founders of NMR and later Physics Nobel Prize winner for laser spectroscopy. This academic background explains his initial project upon his return as a professor at the ULB in 1960 to study spin thermodynamics. Transforming the Zeeman order into spin-spin order through a two-pulse sequence (the Jeener-Broekaert echo) was a major contribution from the Brussels group but already carried the idea of increasing the number of pulses to probe new physics. When Jean came up with the idea of a double Fourier Transform and thereby introduced the principle of 2D NMR, experimental difficulties with the home-built apparatus prevented them from realizing the experiment, but not of distributing the idea in the community. It was taken up in the Basko Polje Summer School by Dr. Thomas Baumann, then a graduate student student of Prof. Richard Ernst, who immediately realized its importance and actually managed to implement the idea. A reprint of the historical 1971 lecture notes is available here (Jeener and Alewaeters, Prog.  NMR Spec. 94–95, 75–80,, 2016). Richard Ernst's note to Jean and Dr. Paul Broekaert upon receiving the Chemistry Nobel Prize in 1991 is unambiguous about the intellectual contribution of the Brussels group.

Note to Jean Jeener by Richard Ernst when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

What follows are some very personal recollections by one of us (GL). After a physics undergraduate from Ghent University and Cornell University, I was formally a PhD student in Ghent, but actually doing research in the Biochemistry department at ULB, using solution NMR spectroscopy to obtain the conformation of the oxytocin hormone. People had pointed out to me that Prof. Jeener was an authority in NMR, so I went to see him quite naively with an NMR-related question. When I told him my background, he immediately became enthusiastic, and questioned me about my knowledge of raising and lowering operators to describe the electromagnetic field. “We treat the spin as a quantum object, so doesn’t it surprise you that we treat the pulse as a classical object?” was his question. Three hours of blackboard development later, I left his office without an answer to my (trivial!) question but convinced that I could learn a lot from this professor. As a side note, it took ten more years before he published together with Prof. F. Henin (his wife) the presentation of pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance with full quantization of the radio frequency magnetic field. And when taking him out for dinner together with Erwin Hahn and his wife at the 2004 EUROMAR meeting in Lille, they started scribbling on all napkins to extend the quantum description to the actual coil as well …

As I performed a lot of molecular dynamics simulations during my PhD and wanted to simulate NMR variables such as proton T1 and T2 relaxation times, I took great profit from Jean's earlier work on gypsum demonstrating that one could treat a system of water molecules as an assembly of independent protons, neglecting spin correlations of the two proton spins on the same water molecule. Without any official appointment as a PhD advisor, he took all the time to go with me through these complex spin operator equations and encouraged me to (re)do the full Redfield relaxation theory in the super-operator formalism.

Upon moving to the Pasteur Institute of Lille after my PhD and getting access to a newly installed 600 MHz instrument with a cryogenic probe, our interactions actually became more frequent. We became his experimental laboratory to probe collective effects in NMR ranging from radiation damping to long-range dipolar field effects. In one of these projects, we needed a tiny capillary in a rotor. Jean asked for a Bunsen burner and drew a pipette to the 0.3 mm diameter that they had calculated would reduce the amount of radiation damping. Observing the capillary under a microscope, its diameter proved to be 0.31mm, underscoring that he was first of all a gifted experimentalist. When at the 1994 EENC in Oulu, a heated debate broke out between two eminent members of the NMR community about the quantum or classical description of these collective dipolar field effects, Jean Jeener was there to calm down the debate. This made me fully realize for the first time his authoritative position in the NMR field. He would later publish a paper on the equivalency of both viewpoints.

The last years of his life, Jean Jeener remained interested in NMR but also in the progress of astrophysics and science in general. The interpretation of quantum mechanics was a point where he was intransigent (for an example published only in March 2023, see Jeener, J. L.: More on the demons of thermodynamics, Physics Today, 76, 12–13,, 2023), and he found a similar mindset in Prof. David Mermin. Finally, a couple of weeks before his passing away, he was awarded the Otto Stern Prize, for his lifetime career.

Award of the Otto Stern Prize of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker to Prof. Jean Jeener on April 15, 2023 by Prof. Jörg Matysik (left) and Prof. Christian Griesinger (right)

With the passing of Jean Jeener, another of the initial heroes of NMR disappears. His legacy, together with that of the other towering figures, will however remain for the generations to come.

Anyone who knew Jean Jeener will know that this great scientist possessed a natural wisdom in many areas, while remaining modest and humble and demonstrating great humanity. Jean will be greatly missed as a caring and inspiring mentor, a dedicated teacher, a friend, and a wonderful person who had the ability to touch people's lives ...

James S. Hyde, 1932 – 2022

May 7th, 2023 by

ISMAR mourns the passing of James S. Hyde, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biophysics at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), who passed away peacefully at the age of 90 years, on August 13, 2022. Jim was a giant in multiple fields and an ISMAR Fellow. His brilliant ideas and research shaped the fields of EPR and MRI and were instrumental to the formation of the National Biomedical EPR Center and the Biophysics Research Institute, which then became the Department of Biophysics at MCW. He will be missed by the Magnetic Resonance community. Read more about Dr. Hyde’s life in his MCW obituary or on Wikipedia.




2023 ISMAR Prize and Abragam Prize recipients, Callaghan Lecturer

April 23rd, 2023 by

The ISMAR Prize Committee has selected the recipients of the 2023 ISMAR Prize and the 2023 Abragam Prize. The ISMAR Prize recipient is Dr. Ad Bax from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, a world leader in the development of NMR methods for the study of proteins and nucleic acids. The Abragam Prize recipient is Prof. Ashok Ajoy of the University of California Berkeley, a pioneer in the development of new magnetic resonance methods based on quantum technologies for nanoscale MRI, quantum sensing and optical hyperpolarization-based NMR.

The ISMAR Executive Committee has also selected Prof. Songi Han of the University of California, Santa Barbara, to be the 2023 Paul Callaghan Lecturer. Prof. Han's work pushes the frontiers of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and relaxometry for the study of biomolecular interactions, biomolecular and materials surfaces, and the property of their hydration layers.

We congratulate Drs. Bax, Ajoy and Han, and we look forward to their lectures on the opening of day of the 2023 ISMAR conference in Brisbane on August 20. Please see for details.

Barry Shapiro’s NMR Newsletters collection is now complete in digital form

March 23rd, 2023 by
All of Barry Shapiro's 516 NMR Newsletters are now completely available in digital form at the ISMAR website We are very glad that we could secure this treasure for the magnetic resonance community and beyond.

ISMAR is extremely grateful to Dr. Clemens Anklin (Bruker) who tirelessly scanned the issues over months and months with some help in the last stages by Alexandra Meng (University of Basel).

The project was initially triggered by a tweet by Dr. Frances Separovic (Melbourne U). We thank Brian Sykes from the University of Alberta, Beth Moscato and Seth Johnson from Corteva, Scott Riley from Tecmag, Matthias Ernst from the ETH Zurich, and Michelle DiMeo of the Science History Institute Philadelphia for the contribution of missing volumes to this collection. We also want to acknowledge the support for this project by Barry Shapiro’s wife Lee Shapiro and his two daughters Catherine Shapiro and Miriam Shapiro Schwartz.

ISMAR announces new Fellows for 2022

December 26th, 2022 by

Marina Bennati (MPI Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen, Germany), Roberta Pierattelli (University of Florence, Italy) and Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy (University of Michigan, USA) were elected to become Fellows of ISMAR in December 2022.  Congratulations to these three outstanding scientists, all of whom have made novel and impactful contributions to magnetic resonance.  Their work covers many aspects of magnetic resonance research, including the development and demonstration of new experimental techniques, new experimental apparatuses, applications to a wide range of scientific problems, as well as efforts to advance the appreciation of magnetic resonance in the scientific community.

Each year, ISMAR solicits nominations for new Fellows from all regular members of ISMAR.  Nominations are first evaluated by the ISMAR Fellows Committee.  A list of candidates is then sent to current Fellows for voting, based on both scientific achievements and contributions to the magnetic resonance community.  No more than four new Fellows are elected each year.

The ISMAR Executive Committee encourages you to submit nominations.  The next call for nominations will be issued in September 2023.

ISMAR Fellows Nominations 2022

September 10th, 2022 by

The Fellows Committee of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance invites you to submit nominations for new ISMAR Fellows. All regular members and current Fellows of ISMAR may submit nominations every year. The deadline for nominations this year is October 30, 2022.

The nomination form is here:

A list of current Fellows can be found at Fellows are recognized for contributions to the field of magnetic resonance and to ISMAR. Fellows need not be current ISMAR members. In the spirit of ISMAR, all branches of magnetic resonance are considered.

In accordance with the ISMAR Constitution, the Fellows Committee will select up to 10 candidates from the nominations. Up to four new Fellows will then be chosen by vote of the current Fellows. The Fellows Committee pays serious attention both to research achievements and to involvement in ISMAR activities (speaking or attendance at previous meetings, service on various committees).

The Committee believes that this approach is consistent with the original motivations for creating a class of Fellows, going back to the original arguments of Paul Callaghan: “The goal is not to create an additional résumé line, but to recognize people in a way that would strengthen the society." Nomination statements should specifically address both of these factors and be sensitive to gender equality.

Nominations remain active for three years after original submission, but updates are welcome.

All nominations, must include a seconder, provide a nomination statement (max 2500 characters), and a maximum of 6 important publications. For inquiries, or questions, please contact

Jacob Schaefer, 1938 – 2022

July 19th, 2022 by

Professor Jacob Schaefer in the laboratory

The Magnetic Resonance community mourns the passing of Prof. Jacob 'Jake' Schaefer on June 27, 2022.

Jake was the pioneer of CP-MAS, REDOR and many other technical developments for high-resolution solid-state NMR, now used world-wide. He applied these techniques diligently to the elucidation of structure and dynamics in complex materials such as biosolids and synthetic polymers, which are not amenable to diffraction or solution-state NMR measurements.

Among many recognitions, Jake received the Laukien Prize, the Midwest Award of the American Chemical Society, the Monsanto Science and Technology Award, and was an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and ISMAR.

We miss him greatly and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

The following tribute was written by Lynette Cegelski (Stanford University) and Terry Gullion (West Virginia University)

Professor Jacob Schaefer, “Jake” to all who knew him, passed away on June 27, 2022. He was 83 years old. Jake was born in San Francisco but spent most of his youth growing up in Chicago and Cleveland. Jake’s father and grandfather, both of whom Jake was named after, were legendary billiards champions and inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. Jake would go on to manipulate nuclear spins to great effect, yet he maintained an interest in putting the spin on billiard balls. Jake was an avid baseball enthusiast. He was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. He attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and obtained his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1964. Jake then joined the Monsanto Company in Creve Coeur, Missouri. At Monsanto, Jake had tremendous scientific freedom and launched into what would be an amazing journey in innovation and discovery with solid-state NMR. Among wonderful colleagues at Monsanto, he and Edward O. Stejskal formed a life-long friendship and long-lasting scientific collaboration. Jake became a Senior Science Fellow at Monsanto in 1980. He moved to the Department of Chemistry at Washington University in 1986 as the Charles Allen Thomas Professor.

Jake was an extraordinary teacher, colleague, collaborator and mentor to many friends around the world. He was a pioneer in the development of solid-state NMR and creatively tackled an enormously diverse range of atomic and molecular-level questions in chemistry and biology. Jake started at Monsanto on a mission to develop techniques for 13C NMR analysis of important polymers. He published the first 13C solution NMR spectra of synthetic copolymers in 1969 and the first magic-angle spinning with proton decoupling 13C NMR spectrum of a solid polymer in 1972. In 1976, he and Ed Stejskal reported their discoveries in combining magic-angle spinning and dipolar decoupling with cross-polarization, known now as cross-polarization magic-angle spinning NMR or CPMAS NMR. Their paper entitled “Carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance of Polymers Spinning at the Magic Angle” was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1976 and, in true Jake Schaefer style, included interesting polymers—polysulfone [a synthetic polymer], a sample of ebony wood [blend of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignan], and a carefully cut cylinder from an ivory billiard ball [ivory is rich in collagen]. This pivotal advancement demonstrated that solid-state NMR spectra with 13C at natural abundance could be obtained with high sensitivity and high resolution. The 1976 paper energized new avenues of research for characterizing complex solid materials. Fascinating details of the early developments of CPMAS have been preserved through Jake’s 2007 perspective article, “Schaefer, Jacob: A Brief History of the Combination of Cross Polarization and Magic Angle Spinning.”

Jake followed CPMAS NMR with double-cross-polarization NMR (DCP NMR) in 1979. He applied 1H/13C/15N DCP NMR experiments to tracking metabolism in soybeans and to detecting connectivities and crosslinks in insect cuticle. DCP NMR is a demanding experiment that requires stable sample spinning, precise control of radiofrequency (rf) amplitudes, and a triple-resonance probe. Jake, Ed Stejskal and Bob McKay made unique contributions to hardware development to meet these technical challenges, including their earlier introduction of quadrature phase cycling (1974) to eliminate spectral artefacts. Perhaps the development of transmission-line probes was the most recognizable contribution, which included double-bearing rotor designs. Their probes were able to handle very high power and have exquisite rf isolation between channels by taking advantage of voltage null points characteristic of transmission lines. Bob McKay moved with Jake to Washington University, and every spectrometer in Jake’s laboratory was equipped with a custom rf controller that eliminated drift of rf power in the probe. They gladly shared designs with other research groups interested in building their own probes and rf controllers. Advances in solid-state NMR methods continued to emerge regularly in Jake’s laboratory at Washington University, which were catalyzed by the collegial atmosphere in his well-equipped laboratory. An example is rotational-echo double-resonance (REDOR) NMR introduced in 1989 by Jake and Terry Gullion to detect and accurately measure dipolar couplings between heteronuclear spin pairs.

Jake’s research branched into structural biology in the 1980s. Jake was marvelously adept at designing and utilizing selective isotopic labeling strategies and the perfectly suited NMR experiment to unravel structural details in complex samples. Many of his pursuits were in strong collaborations with experts in biology, drug development, polymer science, and insect science, and he immersed himself in these fields. He would attend meetings beyond the usual realm of his expertise and reach out to key experts. A selection of Jake’s notable accomplishments in the realm of biology includes determination of glyphosate degradation and glycine assimilation into proteins by bacteria (important for Monsanto’s development of glyphosate as an herbicide); bond connectivities and crosslinks in insect cuticle (lab members could always see the old insect specimens Jake saved in glass jars on a lab shelf); crosslinks in mussel byssus (with live mussels grown in 140 L saltwater aquarium tanks supplemented with separately 13C-labeled and 2H-labeled tyrosines for REDOR); determination of the microtubule-bound conformation of taxol (characterized by Jake Schaefer–style 90-day REDOR measurements) and other drug-protein binding site geometries (e.g., in lumazine synthase and factor Xa); as well as determination of modes of action of oritavancin and other glycopeptide and peptide antibiotics in bacteria. Jake also advanced the thesis that, due to photorespiration, some plants would be more susceptible to drought under higher CO2 conditions brought about by climate change (he grew 13C, 15N and 17O enriched soybean plants on the roof of the WashU Chemistry Building).

Throughout his career, Jake maintained intense interest in analyzing polycarbonate and other glassy polymers. With excellently designed experiments, NMR data, and testable models, Jake and his coworkers and collaborators advanced the role of short-range local order in polymers and provided evidence that polymer-chain packing and dynamics underlie mechanical properties. In his final paper (just accepted in the Journal of Chemical Physics, July 2022) he wrote: ‘Our conclusions appear to resolve the 50-year disagreement between the “random coil” and “local order” schools of thought on glassy polymer structure and physical properties.

Jake was a true scholar, and his scientific contributions are inspirational. He was full of thought and his problem-solving efforts were all marked by elegantly designed experiments and rigorous data acquisition to measure and extract important parameters that one could build on. He had a natural wisdom in so many areas, yet he was rather modest and had a wonderful sense of humor and kindness. Jake will be greatly missed as a kind and inspiring mentor, dedicated teacher, colleague, friend, collaborator, and wonderful individual.

Jacob Schaefer III is survived by his wife Diana Dickes, his three children (Jill Myers, Jacob Schaefer IV, and Thomas Schaefer) and five grandchildren (Sarah, Emily and Mathew Schaefer; Jacob Schaefer V; and Ian Myers) and by his first wife, Jane Schaefer.

JMR/JMRO/ISMAR symposium on June 29: “New Voices in Magnetic Resonance”

June 24th, 2022 by

An on-line symposium entitled “New Voices in Magnetic Resonance” will take place on June 29, 2022 at 15:00 UTC (8:00 in San Francisco, 11:00 in New York, 17:00 in Paris, 20:30 in Mumbai, 23:00 in Shanghai, 24:00 in Tokyo). The symposium will feature an awards ceremony and talks by seven early-career scientists whose articles appeared recently in a JMR/JMRO joint Special Issue, also entitled “New Voices in Magnetic Resonance”.

The Zoom link for this symposium is:

Meeting ID: 845 8677 0053, Passcode: 048755

Symposium program

11:00 am - 11:10 am - Introduction and awards presentations, Tatyana Polenova and Lucio Frydman

11:10 am - 11:25 am - Tomas Orlando  – “Theoretical analysis of scalar relaxation in 13C-DNP in liquids”

11:30 am - 11:45 am - Albert Smith-Penzel – “Interpreting NMR dynamic parameters via the separation of reorientational motion in MD simulation”

11:50 am - 12:05 pm - Michal Leskes  – “Monitoring Electron Spin Fluctuations with Paramagnetic Relaxation Enhancement”

12:10 pm - 12:25 pm - Fred Mentink-Vigier – “Numerical recipes for faster MAS-DNP simulations” and “The distance between g-tensors of nitroxide biradicals governs MAS-DNP performance: the case of the bTurea family”

12:30 pm - 12:45 pm - Benesh Joseph  – “In situ distance measurements in a membrane transporter using maleimide functionalized orthogonal spin labels and 5-pulse electron double resonance spectroscopy”

12:50 pm - 1:05 pm - Moritz Zeiss  – “MR-double-zero – proof-of-concept for a framework to autonomously discover MRI contrasts”

1:10 pm - 1:25 pm - Vipin Agarwal – “Mechanism of polarization exchange amongst chemically similar and distinct protons during weak rf irradiation at fast magic angle spinning”

1:30 pm - 1:40 pm closing remarks

Documentary about Richard Ernst

June 8th, 2022 by

Wonderful documentary about Richard Ernst (in Swiss-German with English subtitles).

Conversations on Magnetic Resonance to resume on May 24, 15:00 UTC

May 22nd, 2022 by

In 2019, ISMAR started a series of on-line symposia called "Conversations on Magnetic Resonance".  This was before the COVID19 pandemic and before the proliferation of on-line webinars that was driven by the cancellation of most normal scientific conferences during the pandemic.  Now that in-person conferences are resuming, ISMAR resumes the Conversations series.

A unique feature of this series is that each Conversation focuses on a specific topic of current interest, pertaining either to a specific aspect of magnetic resonance methodology or to a specific area of application for magnetic resonance techniques.  Three or four people with relevant research activities give short talks, and there is ample time for discussion among speakers and with on-line audience members.  Recordings of past Conversations are available here.

The next Conversation will be devoted to "Magnetic Resonance of Batteries and Electrochemical Devices" on May 24, 15:00 UTC.

Time: 15:00-16:40 UTC (8:00 in Los Angeles, 11:00 in New York, 16:00 in London, 17:00 in Berlin, 23:00 in Shanghai, 24:00 in Tokyo)


(Zoom ID 858 8899 1997, passcode 551650)