A Gentleman´s Crazy Idea

The history of computed tomography

Ingo Zenger
Published on December 1, 2021

In London, in fall 1971, a radiologist and an engineer found themselves jumping up and down for joy – as one of them later recalled – “like football players who had just scored a winning goal.” In their hands, the two researchers were holding a completely new type of X-ray image – known as a tomogram – that depicted a human brain in unprecedented quality. Indeed, looking at the image, the radiologist, James Ambrose, could see his 41-year-old patient’s brain “in a great deal more detail than we’d expected” and could clearly make out the cortex, the spaces filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and even the white matter. 

Godfrey Hounsfield
Prototyp des ersten Computertomographen

Tremendous enthusiasm at Siemens

Siemens Siretom Schädelscanner
Links: Eine der ersten Aufnahmen des Gehirns mit dem Prototyp des Siemens SIRETOM. Rechts: Ein mit Cinematic Rendering berechnetes klinisches Bild aus CT Daten

Ingo Zenger
Ingo Zenger
By Ingo Zenger

Technology journalist and author at the Siemens Healthineers Historical Institute