Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield
(August 28, 1919—August 12, 2004)
(© The Nobel Foundation)
In the late 1960s, Godfrey
Hounsfield began developing computer-assisted tomography, or CAT
scanning, an improved form of diagnostic imaging. At Thorn EMI
Ltd., he combined his understanding of electronics and radar to
create three-dimensional images that illuminated the internal
physiology of the human head.
Born in Newark, England, Hounsfield earned degrees from City and
Guilds College of London and Faraday House Electrical
Engineering College. He worked for England's Royal Air Force
during World War II, where he served as an instructor in radar
mechanics. After joining EMI in 1951, Hounsfield and his team
set about to invent an X-ray scanner that rotated around a
patient to image thin "slices” of the patient's head. The image
slices were fed into a computer that produced a high-resolution,
three-dimensional image with much greater detail than a
The first CAT scanner was installed for use in 1971. It provided
physicians valuable diagnostic information without potentially
hazardous exploratory surgery, revolutionizing medical care.
Computer tomography was first used to take images of the skull
to study diseases of the brain.
Credited with 72 patents, Hounsfield was awarded many honors for
his technology, including the 1979 Nobel Prize.
Leroy E. Hood
John Joseph Lynott