Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Cormack, Allan McLeod, 1924-1998
|Allan MacLeod Cormack (1924-1998), H1980, recipient of the Ballou Medal in 1978 and member of the Tufts faculty for twenty-two years, was the 1979 winner of the Nobel Prize for his work in developing the computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.
Cormack was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on February 23, 1924.He attended the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1944.He continued his studies at the University of Cambridge. From 1950 to 1956, Cormack was a lecturer at his alma mater. Following a year-long research fellowship at Harvard, Cormack joined the Tufts faculty as assistant professor of physics. His research while at Tufts focused on the interaction of subatomic particles. He became a full professor at the university in 1964 and chairman of the physics department from 1968 to 1976.He retired in 1980.
In 1979, Cormack and Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their work in developing a diagnostic technique of computerized axial tomography. Cormack received the award for his work on CAT scanning, despite having never earned a doctorate degree in any field of science. In 1980, he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President Bush awarded Cormack the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor, in November 1990.Cormack died in Winchester, Massachusetts, on May 7, 1998. He was married to Barbara Seavey, with whom he had three children.
Source: VF; EB; TC, Winter 1991