radiologyHistory 400

Illustrated History of Radiology (X-Ray, CT, PET, MRI, Ultrasound)

In this post we present a brief history of Radiology equipment focusing on the major developments which lead to x-ray Radiography, CT, SPECT, PET and Ultrasound imaging.

1880

piezo electric icon

Piezo-electric effect discovered

Ultrasound Predecessor

French physict brothers Piere and Paul-Jacques Curie discovered that when pressure is put on certain crystals that electricity comes out. This effect is used on all modern ultrasound imaging systems.

1880
1895

Icon for X Ray Tube

X-Rays Discovered

X-Ray Imaging Predecessor

Rontgen discovered the unknown particles and hence called them x-rays as x typically is an unknown variable.

1895
1896

radioactivity iconRadioactivity Discovered

Nuc. Med. Predecessor

Becquerel, Marie Currie and Piere Currie discovered radioactivity, with a Uranium rock being the first demonstration of radioactive decay.

1896
1901

rontgen

Nobel Prize Physics

Discovery of X-rays

Rontgen given the first Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of X-rays.

1901
1903

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie 256

Nobel Prize Physics

Discovery of Radioactivity

Becquerel, Marie Currie and Piere Currie granted Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of radioactivity.

1903
sonar icon
1917

Ultrasound for Subs

Ultrasound Imaging Predecessor

French physicist Paul Langevin uses ultrasound waves to detect submarines. Langevin had studied with Piere Currie and later was romantically involved with Marie Currie.

1917
1917

radon transform icon

Math for CT invented

Mathematical Background for CT imaging

Austrian mathematician Johann Radon publishes the mathematical background for projection based imaging used in early CT, PET, SPECT and the first MR imaging.

1917
1932

positron icon

Positron Discovered

PET imaging predecessor

Carl David Anderson discovers the positron which is the anti-particle of the electron and produces two photons via an annihilation event when a positron nears and electron.

1932
1935

radar icon

First Radar

Ultrasound predecessor

During the first world war British scientists Watson and Watt built the first practical RAdio Detection And Ranging (RADAR) system by observing reflections of electromagnetic waves in a similar manner to medical ultrasound later observing reflections of sound waves.

1935
1936

Carl David Anderson 256

Nobel Prize Physics

Discovery of the Positron

Carl David Anderson wins the Nobel prize for discovering the positron.

1936
1938

resonance icon

NMR demonstrated

MRI predecessor

American physicist Isidor Isaac Rabi demonstrates Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for the first time.

1938
1943

colossus

First Computer

Digital imaging predecessor

The first electronic digital computer named Colossus was built for the British Army in the second world war. It was oversee by Max Newman. This marked the beginning of the computing age which is a vital invention for all modern digital imaging including.

1943
1944

rabi

Nobel Prize Physics

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Isidor Isaac Rabi for the first experimental demonstration of the NMR effect in a molecular beam.

1944
1945

nuclear magnetic resonance icon

NMR demonstrated in solids

MRI predecessor

Separate experiments by Felix Bloch and Edward Purcell demonstrated NMR in solid materials such as paraffin wax and water.

1945
1952

bloch purcell 300

Nobel Prize Physics

New methods in NMR

Felix Bloch and Edward Purcell demonstrated NMR in solid materials such as paraffin wax and water.

1952
1957

Icon for SPECT

Gamma Camera Invented

SPECT Predecessor

Hal Anger develops the Gamma camera, also referred to as the Anger camera.

1957
1958

Icon for Ultrasound2

First use of ultrasound in obstetrics

Scottish physician Ian Donald of the University of Glasgow demonstrated soft tissue imaging in the abdomen.

1958
1962

Icon for PET Imaging

First Positron Tomography

PET Predecessor

Sy Rankowitz and James Robertson of Brookhaven National lab invent the first transverse positron imaging device designed for the brain.

1962
1968

first Generation CT Icon 2

CT Invented

British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield of EMI Laboratories and physicist Allan Cormack of Tufts University generated the first generation of CT scanner that would take hours to acquire an image.

1968
1972

first MRI icon

MRI Invented

The first MRI images were generated in a laboratory setting by Paul Lauterbur.

1972
1979

cormack hounsfield

CT Nobel Prize

British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield and Allan Cormack receive the Nobel prize for Computed Tomography.

1979
1998

PET CT icon

First PET-CT scanner

In a project lead by David Townsend and Ronald Nutt the first PET-CT scanner was build at Univeristy of Pittsburg Medical Center.

1998
2003

lauterbur mansfield 300

MRI Nobel Prize

Paul Lauterbur for first developing a method to make 2D images and Peter Mansfield demonstrated the first human images. Mansfield himself was the first human scanned in an MRI machine.

2003
Share
15585

Free X-Gen PDF Cheat Sheet

Join the Rad Nation journey for this and much more.

15585

You know I'm Brian.

So it's only fair if you let me know your name too ?

15585

Where should we send the cheatsheet?

Hey, I'm Brian!

I would love you to join Rad Nation to follow our journey growing. I will also provide you valueable insight as a Radiologic Technologist.

Scroll to Top