Biomagnetism: The First Sixty Years

Brad Roth
2 min readApr 28, 2023
Roth, B. J., 2023, Biomagnetism: The first sixty years. Sensors, 23:4218.

The last two blog posts have dealt with biomagnetism: the magnetic fields produced by our bodies. Some of you might have noticed hints about how these posts originated in “another publication.” That other publication is now published! This week, my review article “ Biomagnetism: The First Sixty Years” appeared in the journal Sensors. The abstract is given below.

Biomagnetism is the measurement of the weak magnetic fields produced by nerves and muscle. The magnetic field of the heart-the magnetocardiogram (MCG)-is the largest biomagnetic signal generated by the body and was the first measured. Magnetic fields have been detected from isolated tissue, such as a peripheral nerve or cardiac muscle, and these studies have provided insights into the fundamental properties of biomagnetism. The magnetic field of the brain-the magnetoencephalogram (MEG)-has generated much interest and has potential clinical applications to epilepsy, migraine, and psychiatric disorders. The biomagnetic inverse problem, calculating the electrical sources inside the brain from magnetic field recordings made outside the head, is difficult, but several techniques have been introduced to solve it. Traditionally biomagnetic fields are recorded using superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometers, but recently new sensors have been developed that allow magnetic measurements without the cryogenic technology required for SQUIDs.

The “First Sixty Years” refers to this year (2023) being six decades since the original biomagnetism publication in 1963, when Baule and McFee first measured the magnetocardiogram.

My article completes a series of six reviews I’ve published in the last few years.

Get the whole set! All are open access except the first. If you need a copy of that one, just email me at and I’ll send you a pdf.

I’m not preparing any other reviews, so this will probably be the last one. But, you never know.

You can learn more about biomagnetism in Chapter 8 of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.


Originally published at



Brad Roth

Professor of Physics at Oakland University and coauthor of the textbook Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.