32 Facts About X-rays


X-rays named it X-radiation to signify an unknown type of radiation.

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The most familiar use of X-rays is checking for fractures, but X-rays are used in other ways.

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X-rays built a Crookes tube with a "window" at the end made of thin aluminium, facing the cathode so the cathode rays would strike it.

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X-rays found that something came through, that would expose photographic plates and cause fluorescence.

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X-rays measured the penetrating power of these rays through various materials.

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X-rays postulated a dispersion theory before Rontgen made his discovery and announcement.

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On November 8,1895, German physics professor Wilhelm Rontgen stumbled on X-rays while experimenting with Lenard tubes and Crookes tubes and began studying them.

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X-rays wrote an initial report "On a new kind of ray: A preliminary communication" and on December 28,1895, submitted it to Wurzburg's Physical-Medical Society journal.

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The name X-rays stuck, although many of his colleagues suggested calling them Rontgen rays.

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X-rays found they could pass through books and papers on his desk.

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In early 1896, several weeks after Rontgen's discovery, Ivan Romanovich Tarkhanov irradiated frogs and insects with X-rays, concluding that the rays "not only photograph, but affect the living function".

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On 3 February 1896, Gilman Frost, professor of medicine at the college, and his brother Edwin Frost, professor of physics, exposed the wrist of Eddie McCarthy, whom Gilman had treated some weeks earlier for a fracture, to the X-rays and collected the resulting image of the broken bone on gelatin photographic plates obtained from Howard Langill, a local photographer interested in Rontgen's work.

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American inventor Thomas Edison started research soon after Rontgen's discovery and investigated materials' ability to fluoresce when exposed to X-rays, finding that calcium tungstate was the most effective substance.

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X-rays lost his personal battle and his left arm had to be amputated at the elbow in 1908, and four fingers on his right arm soon thereafter, leaving only a thumb.

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However, as time passed, the X-rays caused the glass to absorb the gas, causing the tube to generate "harder" X-rays until it soon stopped operating.

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X-rays won the 1917 Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery.

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In 1913, Henry Moseley performed crystallography experiments with X-rays emanating from various metals and formulated Moseley's law which relates the frequency of the X-rays to the atomic number of the metal.

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In 1918, X-rays were used in association with motion picture cameras to capture the human skeleton in motion.

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Since the wavelengths of hard X-rays are similar to the size of atoms, they are useful for determining crystal structures by X-ray crystallography.

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One common practice is to distinguish between the two types of radiation based on their source: X-rays are emitted by electrons, while gamma rays are emitted by the atomic nucleus.

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The ionizing capability of X-rays can be utilized in cancer treatment to kill malignant cells using radiation therapy.

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X-rays have much shorter wavelengths than visible light, which makes it possible to probe structures much smaller than can be seen using a normal microscope.

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X-rays interact with matter in three main ways, through photoabsorption, Compton scattering, and Rayleigh scattering.

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X-rays can be generated by an X-ray tube, a vacuum tube that uses a high voltage to accelerate the electrons released by a hot cathode to a high velocity.

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X-rays can be produced by fast protons or other positive ions.

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Since Rontgen's discovery that X-rays can identify bone structures, X-rays have been used for medical imaging.

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Traditional plain X-rays are less useful in the imaging of soft tissues such as the brain or muscle.

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In medical diagnostic applications, the low energy X-rays are unwanted, since they are totally absorbed by the body, increasing the radiation dose without contributing to the image.

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X-rays beams are used for treating skin cancers using lower energy X-ray beams while higher energy beams are used for treating cancers within the body such as brain, lung, prostate, and breast.

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X-rays are classified as a carcinogen by both the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer and the US government.

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Medical X-rays are a significant source of human-made radiation exposure.

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The knowledge that X-rays are actually faintly visible to the dark-adapted naked eye has largely been forgotten today; this is probably due to the desire not to repeat what would now be seen as a recklessly dangerous and potentially harmful experiment with ionizing radiation.

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