News Of The Weird

Grab Your Geiger Counter and Celebrate!

The First X-Ray

The First X-Ray

What are we celebrating? The discovery of the X-Ray! Hooray!

X-rays were discovered 115 years ago by Wilhelm Röntgen. He was experimenting with Crookes Tubes and had a screen painted with barium platinocyanide behind it. The Crookes Tube was covered in black cardboard to eliminate any visible light from it. As he applied power to the Crookes Tube, he noticed the screen glowing and knew there had to be some non-visible rays emanating from the Crookes Tube. He began studying these invisible rays and called them X-Rays, or “unknown rays”. The X-Ray above was taken in December 1895 of his wife’s hand. It is the first known X-Ray.

Since then X-Ray technology has become a very useful tool in the medical arena. If you’ve ever broken a bone or had a hand grenade lodged in your skull you’ve probably had an X-Ray. Doctors use them all the time to see what’s going on inside. Even though they may not be as refined or have the resolution of other imaging techniques, they are relatively inexpensive and give the doc an idea of what is going on.

X-Rays are also used by airport security to check for liquid bottles greater than 3.4 oz., by industrial weld inspectors, and by insurance companies to make sure that Van Gogh you just paid $6 million for is real.

So, grab your Geiger Counter, head to the hospital and tell that X-Ray machine happy birthday! Just don’t forget the lead vest.

[Image Credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]