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The History of the X-Rays Essay

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During the cold winter of 1895, a German scientist by the name of Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen was working with a cathode-ray tube when he noticed nearby crystals were glowing. When Roentgen reached for the crystals he was amazed when the shadow cast on the crystal was not of his whole hand, but just his bones. Roentgen covered the tube with heavy black paper and saw that the crystals still glowed and the shadow of his hand bones still shown through, he then determined that a new ray was being emitted that could penetrate through thick materials. (1.) He later found that the rays could pass through most anything, but would cast a shadow of solid objects; these shadows could then be captured on film. Among the solid objects Roentgen shot with…show more content…
The Coolidge tube could operate to energies up to 100,000 volts. General Electric went on to make x-ray tubes capable of operating at energies up to 1,000,000 volts, which gave the x-ray technology enough stability to become industrialized and mass produced.

With this stability and mass production, x-rays machines became very common everywhere. From large factories, to doctors offices, all the way to the corner store of small towns, where children and adults alike could insert a coin into a machine and view the bones in their feet. (3.) Because of their relative adolescences in the world, not much was known about x-rays or their effects on the human body. The first theories about the rays’ effects on the human body were that they had beneficial applications. With this being the only theory about their effect, widespread use went on, unmonitored, and unregulated. This unregulated use led to injuries but because of their slow onset the injuries were never attributed to x-rays. While some scientists tied certain skin burns to over exposure of x-rays it wasn’t until popular minds of the world like Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and William J. Morton expressed that they experienced eye pain when dealing with the rays for extended periods of time that people began to connect the dots and understand the negative
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