10 facts you may not know about Godfrey Hounsfield and the early days of CT

The very first ct scanner prototype. Invented by Houndsfield at EMI. This picture was taken at the UKRC 2005 exhibition in Manchester G-MEX centre

The very first ct scanner prototype. Invented by Houndsfield at EMI. This picture was taken at the UKRC 2005 exhibition in Manchester G-MEX centre

  1. Godfrey Hounsfield the co-inventor of the CT scanner, for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine, was born on Aug 29, 1919, in Newark, Nottinghamshire.
  2. Two years following the Nobel, he was honored with knighthood, becoming Sir Godfrey Hounsfield.
  3. Hounsfield left school at 16 with no qualifications, and the only degrees he received were honorary.
  4. Hounsfield never married, and would say late in life that he had not established a “permanent residence” until aged 60 years.
  5. Hounsfield joined EMI in 1951, where he initially worked on radar and guided weapons.
  6. Hounsfield was inspired from an idea which struck him on vacation: reconstructing a 3D image of a box by considering it as a series of slices.
  7. The prototype of what was called the EMI brain scanner (later renamed computed tomography) was installed at Atkinson’s Morley Hospital and the first human patient, a woman in her early forties with a suspected brain tumour, was examined on October 1, 1971 by James Ambrose.
  8. The first CT scanner took several hours to acquire the raw data for a single scan or “slice” and took days to reconstruct a single image from the raw data.
  9. Hounsfield, dismissed as a “crank” by many renowned radiologists during his career, passed away in 2004 at the age of 84, leaving behind one of the most important inventions in medical science history.
  10. The Beatles recorded for EMI but the profits did not fund the scanner research: this is an urban legend, although it is widely believed!

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