Luckily for all life forms on Earth our atmosphere is thick enough to thwart the effects of X-rays as they are unable to penetrate from outer space all the way to the Earth’s surface.
By Unimoman – June 25, 2012
X-rays were discovered on 8 Nov, 1895, by German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. He (accidentally) discovered an image cast from his cathode ray generator when experimenting with vacuum tubes; which were capable of passing through the human body. He didn’t know their unknown nature and so called them X-rays. He discovered that they were not deflected by magnetic fields, and that they penetrated many kinds of matter.
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Discoverer of X-Rays in 1895. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Because of this discovery he received the first Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901. X-rays were the hot topic for research in the late 19th century. Many famous inventors worked on them, including the likes of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Since then, several important discoveries have been made using X-rays with their penetrating capabilities. X-rays are used in many applications. Thanks to X-rays; in 1953 (because of their tiny wavelength) they were found to be useful for imaging small structures, such as individual molecules. This research field is known as x-ray crystallography and is responsible for uncovering the physical structure of DNA. The structure of DNA was solved by J. Watson, a biologist, and F. Crick, a physicist. X-rays are actually electromagnetic waves situated between ultraviolet light and gamma rays on the wavelength scale.
A week after his discovery, he took an X-ray of his wife’s hand which clearly defined her bones and her wedding ring as well. The photograph astounded the general public and aroused a huge amount interest within the scientific community regarding this new form of radiation. The term Röntgen rays is still used for X-rays in Germany today.
Luckily for all life forms on Earth our atmosphere is thick enough to thwart the effects of X-rays as they are unable to penetrate from outer space all the way to the Earth’s surface. Tesla was the first to inform the scientific community of the biological hazards of x-rays
When an X-ray is taken at a hospital, an X-ray sensitive film is put on the opposite side of your body, and the X-rays are directed and shoot through you. When a dentist takes an X-ray of your teeth, he places a small film inside your mouth on one side of your teeth, and then shoots the X-rays through your jaw.
Your skin, bones and teeth are of different densities and absorb X-rays at differing rates with your skin being the least dense, the silhouettes of your bones or teeth are left on the X-ray film while your skin appears transparent. Calcium in bones absorbs X-rays the most, so look white on film, whilst fat and other soft tissue like skin appear grey as they absorb less. Metal absorbs even more X-rays and so will appear even whiter still. Lungs look black on an X-ray as air absorbs the least.
William Coolidge invented the X-ray tube. This invention revolutionized the taking of X-rays. All X-ray tubes for medical applications are based on this invention.
Ciao for now, Unimoman
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