The Beattles Helped Invent the CT Scanner

We have the Beattles to Thank for CT Scanners!

How The Beattles Helped Fund the Invention of the CT Scanner

Back in the late 1960’s, Sir Godfrey Hounsfield was working for a multi-conglomerate corporation, EMI Group. He was an engineer who was trying to figure out how to use x-rays to make 3-D images of the inside of the body. He was working away in a warehouse-type laboratory near Heathrow Airport outside London.

The technology was primitive, and the computers were under-powered for the task. The best computer at the time was less capable than today’s typical smart phone.

For most of his calculations, he was using a slide-rule. Think about that for a bit. (For those of you too young to know what a slide-rule is, it was an “analog mechanical computer”. See resources below)

The work was expensive, and would have been closed down except for the Beattles.

You read that right – it was the commercial success of the Beattles’ recordings that enabled EMI Group to continue funding Sir Hounsfield’s work. At the time, the Beattles had sold 200 Million records! That commercial success allowed EMI Group, their recording publisher, to keep Hounsfield’s research going.

Sir Hounsfield worked on his invention for 4 years, and succeeded in bringing the CT scanner to market in the early 1970’s.

CT Scan

CT Scan Axial Plane Head

CT scanners have helped save millions of lives since then. Obviously, the CT and computer technology have continued to evolve, providing high-resolution and 3-Dimensional images that are invaluable in their ability to give us a view inside the body.

Sir Hounsfield shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979 for this work.

Thanks to the success of the Beattles.


This is simply the introduction to a multi-part series on TESTING in Pediatric ENT.

In these articles we will review:

  • sinus imaging
  • hearing tests
  • allergy testing
  • pulmonary function testing
  • reflux testing
  • immunological testing
  • cilia function testing
  • rhinometry
  • manometry
  • and perhaps some others.

(I don’t think that the Beattles played a role in any of these other tests).

These articles will be randomly sprinkled in over the next several months so that you don’t get sick of articles on testing. I don’t want to lose loyal readers.

On the other hand, I do receive many questions about testing – How old does a child need to be for allergy testing? What does a CT scan show? How do you test a baby’s hearing? – things like that, and I want to provide accurate information.

Because you can make better decisions about your child’s health when you are informed.

What tests do YOU want to know about?

Leave a reply and let me know, or send me an email.


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Stay Informed.

Stay Healthy.

Best of health and success to you and your families.

Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor :~D)


Image Credits: image of the Beattles from, public domain.

Role of Beattles in funding Sir Houndsfield’s research:

Slide rule:

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