Global Health Nexus, Millennium Issue

Focus on Alumni: The Pride of NYU Dentistry Dr. Robert Ledley Receives NYU Distinguished Alumnus Award  

The New York University Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is "given to a respected and distinguished graduate who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement and/or service in his/her profession, vocation, or social or cultural endeavors," was awarded to Dr. Robert S. Ledley, Class of 1948, at the 1999 NYU Alumni Association Annual Awards Dinner held at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.

Recognized as one of America's most brilliant medical pioneers, Dr. Ledley is best known for developing the first whole-body computerized tomography (CT or CAT) machine, which he called the automatic computerized transverse axial (ACTA) scanner. Dr. Ledley's technology revolutionized diagnostic medicine. He was the first to do medical imaging and three-dimensional reconstructions and the first to use CT in radiation therapy planning for cancer patients and in the diagnosis of bone diseases. The prototype of Dr. Ledley's ACTA scanner is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. In addition to the ACTA scanner, Dr. Ledley patented the image processor, wrote the first computational textbook for engineers on digital computer engineering, and developed computational methods for use in digital circuit design.

Holding more than 60 patents, Dr. Ledley is president and research director of the National Biomedical Research Foundation, chairman of the Pattern Recognition Society and the Computerized Medical Imaging Society, professor of physiology and biophysics and professor of radiology, and director of the Medical Computing and Biophysics Division at Georgetown University Medical School. He is also a senior member of the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1990, he was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame and, in 1997, was honored by the President of the United States with the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor for technological achievement. In further tribute to his work, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) presented him with an NIDCR Distinguished Service Award as part of their 50th anniversary celebration in 1998.

In addition to his D.D.S. degree from NYU, Dr. Ledley also holds an M.A. degree in theoretical physics and mathematics from Columbia University.