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Dentist inventor of full-body CT scanner dies

August 14, 2012

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Kensington, Md.—Robert S. Ledley, a dentist and biomedical researcher who developed the first full-body CT scanner, died here on July 24 at 86, reported the New York Times.

Born in Queens, N.Y., June 28, 1926, Dr. Ledley earned his D.D.S. at New York University in1948. He studied physics at Columbia University and earned a masters degree in physics in 1950. He also earned a masters degree in mathematics.

After serving in the Army Dental Corps during the Korean War, Dr. Ledley worked in Washington at the National Bureau of Standards’ Dental Materials Section.

Dr. Ledley’s full-body scanner prototype was called the Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial. It built upon the forerunning CT scanner of Nobel Prize winner Sir Godfrey Hounsfield. The forerunner was usable only on the head area.

Though known largely for his work on the first full-body scanner, Dr. Ledley also is regarded for his advocacy of computer usage in medicine; he was a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.

Contributions may be made to the Robert Ledley Memorial Fund, Georgetown University Advancement, P.O. Box 571404, Washington, D.C., 20057-1404.