Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scan)

Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scans for short) are 3-dimensional x-rays.

Self-taught innovator Hounsfield, while on a camping trip, wondered if he could x-ray the contents of a box in 3D by moving the x-ray machine. That worked. Eventually, he implemented it in his own machine and used that to image a cow brain. Subsequently, he tried a human brain: his own.

His 3D x-ray machine, known later as a CT scanner, was small. At the urging of colleagues, he built a full-body model.

In the 1960’s, Allan Cormack worked through mathematical formulas for CT scanning. Markedly, Hounsfield never saw Cormack’s research (few people did: it was not well known).

In 1979, Hounsfield and Cormack shared the Nobel Prize for the innovation of the CT scanner.

CT scans were developed after the earliest MRI machines. However, MRI took so long to perfect that CT scans was commercialized first.

Hounsfield was never interested in material goods and did not worry about money.

“Don’t worry too much if you don’t pass exams, so long as you feel you have understood the subject. It’s amazing what you can get by the ability to reason things out by conventional methods, getting down to the basics of what is happening.”

Godfrey Hounsfield