115th Anniversary of the X-Ray

Wilhelm RoentgenToday marks the 115th anniversary of the x-ray, which was discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. He was awarded the nobel prize for physics in 1901 for the discovery. The discovery was accidental as he was actually studying how electrical currents pass through gas. During one of his experiments, he noticed that a fluorescent screen glowed when the rays passed through and when the current was turned off, it ceased to glow. He called these currents “X-Rays” because they were unknown. One of the first x-rays he produced was of his wife’s hand. He was even able to see her wedding ring.

The accidental discovery lead to one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of healthcare. Shorty thereafter, hospitals in Europe and the United States began making use of the technology to image bones and internal organs, assisting with diagnosis. Prior to x-ray technology, doctors could only speculate about what might be going on inside the human body. The x-ray technology opened the door to further research in medical imaging and lead to increasingly effective technologies such as computed tomography, mammography, mri’s, and more.

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