CT Scan

Godfrey Hounsfield 1975

Godfrey Hounsfield
Godfrey Hounsfield
Born28 August 1919
Died12 August 2004 | Age 84

The first CT Scan was performed at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, London, in 1975.

Godfrey Hounsfield was born in Sutton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England. He perfected the Computed Axial Tomography scanner, CAT scan for short.

He worked for EMI and became interested in computers. In 1958, he helped design the first commercially available all-transistor computer made in Great Britain, the EMIDEC 1100.

With the success of the Beatles EMI had money to invest and asked Hounsfield, who had now transferred to EMI Central Research Laboratories, to come up with a new area of research. 1 He came up with the idea that one could determine what was inside a box by taking X-ray readings at all angles around the object. Godfrey thought he could use a computer to take images from X-rays at various angles and create a 3d image of the object.


Hounsfield started with a prototype head scanner. He experimented on a preserved brain and the results were encouraging. He then used it on a cow brain from a butcher shop, eventually Godfrey scanned his own brain. The medical world, and EMI, were now excited at the potential of this new technology.
A modern CT Scanner
A modern CT Scanner

On 1 October 1971, CT scanning was used on a patient with a cerebral cyst.

In 1975, Hounsfield built a whole-body scanner.


  • 1979. Hounsfield and Cormack received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • 1976. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire, CBE.
  • 1981. Knighted becoming Sir Godfrey Hounsfield.
 Notes 1: This is challenged by Prof. Adrian Thomas in his biography. He states the project was run on a shoe-string.

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