From The Beatles to CT Scans

A CT Scan made possible, in part, by The Fab Four.(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstar/)
A CT Scan made possible, in part, by The Fab Four.(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstar/)

EMI, CT scans and The Beatles. Who would have thought there could be a connection between advanced medical imaging technology and the Fab Four?

There was always something positive and life-enhancing for me in the music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Thanks to the millions of other people who felt the same way, the tremendous wealth generated by their record sales not only made The Beatles rich, but it also provided large sums for their recording company, EMI.  Some of the profits from their music were used to fund EMI Central Research Labs, Great Briton.

It was there in 1972 that Sir Godfrey Hounsfield invented the first commercially viable CT scanner. Sir Hounsfield and Alan McLeod McCormick shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1979 for the invention of CT scanning.

Computed tomography, later known as computed axial tomography (CAT or CT scan), allows three-dimensional images to be made of the insides of objects and was a great advance beyond the existing X-ray technology. It has been a great boon in the field of medical diagnosis and has undoubtedly played an important role in saving human lives.

EMI is also one of the world’s largest classical music companies with a long and distinguished history. I’m sure the millions of recordings they’ve sold of the great orchestras, conductors, chamber groups, and solo artists also helped the company be in a position to fund this innovative research.

Many outstanding  performers and orchestras recorded at Abbey Road studios in London before John, Paul, George, and Ringo got there. But the next time you hear Paul singing “I’m Looking Through You” on Rubber Soul, I hope in addition to appreciating the visionary and entertaining music of The Beatles (and maybe the pun), you also marvel at the  surprising connections that can be found between the worlds of art, commerce and science – sometimes to every one’s mutual benefit.

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