Jerome "Jay" R. Singer was Professor of Engineering Science, Emeritus, at UC Berkeley, where he taught and conducted research for twenty-five years in the EECS and Biophysics Departments. He was also an Adjunct Professor of Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco, for several years where he carried forward research on imaging systems.

Singer was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1921 to immigrant parents from Lithuania and Austrian Poland. He started his career as a machinist. After maritime training, he served for four years at sea as a navigator of troop transports during World War II. His university research centered around Quantum Electronics and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). His research work was seminal in initiating the development of MRI. Paul C. Lauterbur, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on MRI in 2003, credits Singer for creating "an early predecessor to MRI" in his published Nobel Prize Speech. Lauterbur's initial procedure took hours to image a single orange. Singer, and his graduate students Lawrence Crooks and John Hoenninger, invented and constructed the first practicable MRI. They utilized a superconducting magnet, a method of timing wireless signals, and a computer, to obtain human images in minutes. Their apparatus used time-of-flight (TOF) angiography (also known as "inflow" or "wash-in/wash-out"), a technique Singer first described in 1959, to directly image blood flow in arteries, veins, and CSF-containing spaces.

Singer has had 75 research students, including: Lawrence E. Crooks, Thomas Grover, John C. Hoenninger, James C. Kemp, Joel Libove, Oliver C. Morse III, Joseph Murphy, Moshe Fostick, Andrew Poggio, William Rowan, William Sinclair, Amnon Yariv, Joseph Wakabayashi, and Leslie Kent Wanlass. Singer and his graduate student collaborators have jointly been awarded more than 20 patents including two patents for MRI technology. It is said that the royalties on their patents provided a great windfall for the University of California.

Singer published more than 100 scientific papers and is the author of two books. He was the chairman of the Second International Conference on Quantum Electronics, editing and contributing to the book of the conference proceedings. He was the editor of, and a contributor to the first issue of the IEEE which was devoted to Quantum Electronics.

In addition, Singer founded or co-founded 8 high tech companies: Alpha Scientific Labs, Inc., Data Systems Design, Inc., Sierra-Misco Corp, Dual Systems Corporation, UniSoft Corporation, Singer Associates, Inc., Electrascan, Inc., and Four D Imaging, Inc.

He was a consultant to The U. S. Army Research and Development Laboratory, California Research Lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Lockheed Aerospace, Thermionics Corp., Wang NMR,Inc., Philco-Ford-Aeronutronics, Diasonics Corporation, National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation.

Prof. Singer passed away on July 30, 2019.


  • 1955, Ph.D., Physics, University of Connecticut, Storrs
  • 1953, M.S., Physics, Northwestern University
  • 1950, B.S., Mathematics, University of Illinois, Urbana

Selected Publications

  • J. R. Singer, F. A. Grunbaum, P. Kohn, and J. P. Zubelli, "Image reconstruction of the interior of bodies that diffuse radiation," Science, vol. 248, no. 4958, pp. 990-993, May 1990.
  • J. R. Singer and L. E. Crooks, "Nuclear magnetic resonance blood flow measurements in the human brain," Science, vol. 221, no. 4611, pp. 654-656, Aug. 1983.
  • J. R. Singer, Ed., "In vivo NMR blood flow imaging," in Proc. Congress on Nuclear Medicine and Biology, 1982.
  • J. R. Singer and L. Crooks, "Some magnetic studies of normal and leukemic blood," J. Clinical Engineering, vol. 34, pp. 237-243, July 1978.
  • J. R. Singer and J. Libove, "Blood flow imaging with nuclear magnetic resonance," Trans. American Nuclear Society, vol. 27, pp. 165-166, Nov. 1977.
  • J. R. Singer and D. J. Rondeau, "Outpatient monitoring with portable microprocessor recording system," in 1975 WESCON Proc., Vol. 19, 1975, pp. 205-210.
  • J. R. Singer, R. Battagin, L. Crooks, and S. Rasmussen, "NMR relaxation times of blood," Bulletin of the American Physical Society, vol. 18, pp. 1571, Dec. 1973.
  • J. Kumar, V. Kumar, and J. R. Singer, "Nuclear magnetic relaxation time of blood and blood velocity," Science, vol. 175, pp. 794-795, Feb. 1972.
  • O. C. Morse and J. R. Singer, "Blood velocity measurements in intact subjects," Science, vol. 170, no. 3956, pp. 440-441, Oct. 1970.
  • J. R. Singer, "Lasers using molecular beams," Bulletin of the American Physical Society, Jan. 1962.
  • J. R. Singer, "Quantum electronics," Physics Today, vol. 15, pp. 52-56, Jan. 1962.
  • J. R. Singer and S. Wang, "The emission, pulse-level inversion, and modulation of optical masers," in Advances in Quantum Electronics, J. R. Singer, Ed., New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 299-307.
  • J. R. Singer and S. Wang, "The emission, pulse-level inversion, and modulation of optical masers," in Advances in Quantum Electronics, J. R. Singer, Ed., New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 299-307.
  • J. R. Singer, "Electronic analog of the human recognition system," J. Optical Society of America, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 61-69, Jan. 1961.
  • J. R. Singer, Ed., Electronic system for size and tilt invariant symbol recognition, 1960.
  • J. R. Singer, "Blood flow measurements using dynamical paramagnetic relaxation times and paramagnetic tracer techniques," Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. S406-S407, May 1960.
  • J. R. Singer, "Blood flow rates by nuclear magnetic resonance measurements," Science, vol. 130, no. 3389, pp. 1652-1653, Dec. 1959.
  • J. R. Singer, "Information theory and the human visual system," J. Optical Society of America, vol. 49, no. 6, pp. 639-640, June 1959.
  • J. R. Singer, C. Susskind, and J. R. Whinnery, "Basic Research in Microwave Electronics," Institute of Engineering Research, University of California, Berkeley, Tech. Rep. 60-215, Oct. 1958.