Who Invented X-Rays? X-rays are electromagnetic radiation that is capable of passing through an opaque body as well as making a photographic film. They receive this name because who discovered them baptized them as “unknown rays” since they did not know how they were produced or what they were.
It was 1895 when Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen accidentally discovered X-rays. While he was experimenting with a cathode ray generator, he realized that the transmission that was sent by the machine could penetrate to the deepest layers, something that had never happened before, so he began working to improve this technique.
All this happened when he covered a tube with a black cardboard sleeve that, when connected to his equipment, emitted a faint glow in the distance, discovering that these flashes could illuminate some bottles with barium salts that he had in the laboratory and that they found him separated by several wooden plates and books.
An Unexpected Discovery
From that moment on, it was when he began to study all the properties that X-rays had, so he thought that the best thing was to photograph this phenomenon and in this way, he also discovered that the photographic plates that he had in the box were veiled. Sensing the action that these rays had, he put a wooden box on a photographic plate with some weights and observed that the ray managed to penetrate the wood and impress the image of those weights in a photograph.
X-ray technology was used to discover what was the structure of our DNA and thanks to this technology, we know that it has a double helix structure.
After conducting experiments with different objects, he decided to do it with humans and for this he did was to irradiate his wife’s hand with X-rays for fifteen minutes to get impressed when he saw that the machine captured an image with his bones under the skin. It was not until 1903 that another inventor, Coolidge, managed to develop the X-ray tube, the main reason for the effectiveness of these rays today.
Other Uses of X-Rays
But the applications of X-rays are not only limited to the world of medicine, but they also have enormous importance within archeology, for example, since thanks to them, but it has also been possible to verify what man was like in Prehistory or to know what behind certain walls of archaeological remains.
In art, they are also useful because thanks to them it is possible to distinguish when a painting is authentic and when it is false.
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Similarly, within the security services, these rays are used to inspect the interior of bags and suitcases or even people in certain areas such as airports.