Heroes of Progress: Wilhelm Rontgen
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The German scientist was the first person to identify electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength that we today know as an x-ray.
The most common usage of x-rays includes detecting broken or fractured bones, heart problems, breast cancer, scoliosis, and tumors. X-ray machines are used to help save the lives of millions of people.
On November 8, 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen was conducting experiments using a cathode ray tube. He noticed that when he used the cathode ray tube, a board on the other side of his lab that was covered in phosphorus began to glow. Even if he covered the tube's light in a thick black cardboard box, the phosphorous board continued to glow.
It became clear to Röntgen that he had discovered a new type of ray.
After many experiments, Wilhelm Röntgen found that many materials were transparent or translucent when interposed in the path of the rays. These materials included paper, wood, aluminum, and very importantly, skin and flesh.
A few weeks later, he took the first picture - a radiograph of his wife's hand. Röntgen published a paper on December 28, 1895, detailing his discovery titled “On a New Kind of Rays.” The news spread over the next two years. His discovery of the x-ray fundamentally changed medial practices forever.
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