By some happy accident, a professional radiologist happened to also be a violin player.
And for some odd reason, he had his instrument with him one night when he was called in to do a scan.
So after the patient was finished, he looked over at it and thought it might make an interesting subject also.
What he saw surpised him, especially since he’d been trained to notice very small changes in anatomy.
He noticed that the actual architecture of the instrument varied wildly from his previously-simplistic image of it.
By a Third happy accident, the doctor in-question also happened to be friends with a professional luthier, so he sent the scan results over to his friend to have a look.
Fast-forward a few years, a few hundred more scans and some wild speculation, and they caught a very lucky break. The Library Of Congress was able to lend them a Stradivarius violin called “Betts”.
After teaming up with a violinmaker and a CNC Router, Dr. Sirr and his friend were able to turn the scans into detailed CAD files that the router then used to make exact replicas of the instruments.
Maybe one day with the help of the faculty of Julliard, replicas of great instruments can get into the hands of the artists who play them for less than the price of a Vietnam-era aircraft-carrier.
More details at the links, including CAT scans and CNC Router footage:
“Figure 15: Photograph comparing the original Stradivari Betts violin to the top portion of the reproduction”, by Dr. Steven Sirr, John Waddle, Steve Rossow and RNSA
• Source: BBC-Stradivarius Replicated
• More Coverage: RSNA-Researchers Use CT to Recreate Stradivarius Violin