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CT scan - Invented by Godfrey Hounsfield

Godfrey Hounsfield-CT scan
: Godfrey Hounsfield (Know about Godfrey Hounsfield)
: 1971
: United Kingdom
: Medicine & Healthcare

About Invention

A CT scan, also called X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) or computerized axial tomography scan (CAT scan),makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray images taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual 'slices') of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting.

Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield,  (born August 28, 1919, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England—died August 12, 2004, Kingston upon Thames), English electrical engineer who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Allan Cormack for his part in developing the diagnostic technique of computerized axial tomography (CAT), or computerized tomography (CT). In this technique, information obtained from X rays taken by scanners rotating around the patient are combined by a computer to yield a high-resolution image of a slice of the body.

In 1967 Godfrey’s previous projects ceased to be of interest to EMI because of changes in company strategy. He was asked to suggest a new line of work involving pattern recognition, and he suggested what eventually became CT scanning. EMI were unenthusiastic because they had no significant medical business, Godfrey had no medical knowledge, and his proposal was a high-risk leap beyond existing technology. So they sought external funding, and Godfrey managed to get a small amount of money from the Department of Health. His struggles for funding continued for the next four years, and he also had to struggle against adverse market research. Visits to the radiology experts at the leading hospitals found that almost everyone (with notable exceptions James Ambrose, Louis Kreel, Evan Lennon and Frank Doyle) thought that his proposal was pointless. Everything changed after the first publication of his clinical CT scans at conferences in London in April 1972 and in New York in May 1972. As soon as people saw those CT scans they realised how valuable they were. He was the first to show discrimination between soft tissues, tumours and blood clots in clinical use at acceptable cost and dose. Godfrey was inundated with orders for scanners and received a knighthood and dozens of academic awards. But it had been a long and difficult road to reach that point. His life would have been easier if he had chosen a project which optimised technology which his employer was interested in, rather than revolutionising a field which was new to him and to his company. He persevered because he knew that he was on the track of a hundred-fold improvement, and that vision drove him on. 


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