X-Ray<br />We have all heard of the term ‘x-rays,’ but what are they exactly? X rays is a type of radiation that can pass through objects that are not transparent and make it possible to see to see inside them. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, on 8 November 1895, produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range called as x-rays or Rontgen rays. He called the rays ‘X-rays’ to show that they were an unknown type of radiation. X-rays are like light but have shorter wavelength in the range of approximately 10 to 0.01 nanometers and frequency in the range of 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz. It is capable of penetrating solids and ionizing gases. In hospitals, X-ray machines are widely used. They send individual X-ray particles called Photons. These photons go through the human body which helps record the images that are created using a computer or a special film. Structures like bones, metals, and contrast media appear white because they are dense and block most of the X-ray particles. Other structures like fat and muscle appear in shades of gray while structures containing air will appear black. They are very much used in health settings till now. <br />Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen is the one who discovered X-rays and received the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. It was a revolutionary discovery in the Physics world. On his fiftieth birthday, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen noticed a barium plationocyanide screen glowing in his laboratory as he created cathode rays in a Crookes tube some distance away. Roentgen found that the X-rays originate from the bright fluorescence on the tube where the Cathode rays strike the glass and spread out. He was amazed by it and tested it again. When the screen began to glow again he placed a deck of cards and a two inch book between the tube and the screen. He realized that the rays could go through the book. Also, he tried to place a small wooden box which had metals weights in it. However, he noticed that the rays did not go through the entire box. He started to study this alone for the next six weeks in secrecy so that other physicists could not discover this before him. Finally, three days before Christmas Rontgen took his wife to his laboratory and took a picture of her hand which showed the bones of her hand. This discovery was announced on 28th of December, 1895. The news about this discovery spread very fast across the world. <br />The world was fascinated, enthralled, and fearful about his new discovery. There were jokes and cartoons about X-rays. For example, a man posing for his photographic portrait received a picture of his skeleton instead. However, some were scared and feared this new discovery. When Roentgen’s wife saw her own hand she exclaimed, “Oh my God.. It makes me somehow feel that I’m looking at my own death!” Like Roentgen’s wife, many people first felt that they were looking at their own death. It was a common reaction. The concept of X-rays was troublesome for some people because they felt that people could now look inside their homes and see what they were doing. Many also wanted to know the nature of the new rays. Therefore, many scientists began to research and study about these rays. Physicians immediately saw the diagnostic possibilities of the x-rays to help find any broken bones and also things like bullets in the human body. Some believed that the radiation could burn the skin so therapeutic applications were also introduced. Overall, there were mixed opinions and reactions about x-rays. Some thought X-rays had constructive properties while others thought it had destructive.<br />Whether the X-rays were viewed positively or negatively they were definitely very popular. X-rays became very popular because it was new concept of viewing things that were invisible. It was amazing to be able to take pictures as the rays passed through solid objects. Also, X-rays received great attention among people all around the world because although it was huge scientific discovery it was not incomprehensible to the public. The common man could understand the effects and implications of this phenomenon and didn’t need to know the details of physics to understand it. <br />Bibliography<br />- Badash, Lawrence. "
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