The Man behind the CAT Scan – Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield

Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield is the name behind the very popular CAT (or CT) scan our doctors rely on. Being an engineer and hailing from England, he worked on X-ray computed technology which helped in the easy diagnosis of many brain and body ailments.

In celebration of his birthday on August 28th, here is a look at his life, work, and achievements between the years 1919 and 2004.

Childhood and Early Life


A very happy Dr. Godfrey Hounsfield is shown after holding a news conference 10/11, on the announcement from Stockholm that he jointly won the 1979 Nobel prize for medicine along with Allan McLeod Cormack of USA. The award was presented for their work in the development of computer-assisted x-ray techniques.

Hailing from Nottinghamshire, Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield enjoyed most parts of his childhood in the small farm owned by his family. He was the youngest of the group of five children. However, since every one of his siblings pursued their interests, he was not expected to join in.

He spent most of his time studying the mechanical and electrical gadgets that were present on the farm. This included the generators, the threshing machines, and the likes. This is what triggered his interest in machines. Between the age of 11 and 18, Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield engaged in some experiments that laid the foundation stone for his future success. Some of his adventurous activities included: Construction of an electrical recording machine, studying the principles of flight through various experiments, using water-filled tar barrels and acetylene to see how water jet propulsion takes place.

His parents got him admitted in Magnus Grammar School in Newark. While the school staff tried to educate him in general studies and culture, his primary interest lied in Physics and Mathematics. He could understand only these two subjects and respond well with these. This is pretty much how most of his childhood education went.

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