We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

The Cruelty-Free Dissection

Hi-res X-rays can peer inside meteorites, cavemen, and cell phones.

Jun 29, 2010 4:07 PMNov 20, 2019 9:13 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
Photo Credits: Photo gallery text by Anne Casselman

Today, computed tomography (CT) scans are a staple of medicine, giving doctors a glimpse of one's insides without having to cut someone open. Generated by collecting hundreds of x-rays around one axis of rotation, the scans are compiled to give an in-depth snapshot of the body's insides, like this scan of a patient's upper chest, showing the shoulder blades, part of the spine, and both lungs.

CT scans were originally referred to as EMI scans since they were developed by at EMI's Central Research Laboratories in Hayes, England, by Sir Godfrey Hounsfield. His work on the CT scanner was indirectly bankrolled by the Beatles, whose singles were making EMI a fortune in royalties at the time.

Photo Credits: Photo credit: Kathy Steppe, Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Ghent University

Here is a micron-size cube from the wood of an Elm tree. This miniscule cube was scanned to study the three-dimensional vessel structure and the micro-scale morphology of the wood. Wood scans can also be used to model sap-flow simulations, to study fungus development, and even to model the penetration of paint layers.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.