|MadSci Network: Science History|
Dear User, In 1838 Michael Faraday described glow, separated into bright regions near the electrodes of a partially evacuated tubes filled with gas. In the 1840- 1850ies Heinrich Geissler, Crookes and Lennard design and produce a variety of low-pressure gas tubes. These tubes are instantly recognized as a source of amusement by the educated elite. During November 1895, in a partially darkened laboratory, Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (1845-1923) notices fluorescense of barium-platinum cyanide screen located some distance from a Crookes tube. On December 28, 1895 Dr. Roentgen had submitted his manuscript 'On a New Kind of Ray, A Preliminary Communication', to the Wurzburg Physical Medical Society. Within three more weeks, X-rays were used to set the broken arm of a young boy in Dartmouth, New Hampshire. http://www.emory.edu/X-RAYS/century.htm http://www.elettra.trieste.it/about/tour/Stop_1.html http://www.softcode.com/X_ray.html In 1896 the discovery was publicized, and it was then suggested that medical science would benefit from it. Many experiments were performed, demonstrating that X-rays can produce images of hidden objects, bones, etc. Roentgen received a Nobel prize (the first ever awarded !) for his work, in 1901. Roetngen was not a talkative man and was somewhat shy of public speaking, thus he managed to substitute his required Nobel talk by a single lecture given elsewhere. Roetngen never profited personally from his discovery, and died in dire poverty, in the post-war Germany at the age of 73. From then till now, the use of X-rays have provided us with a wealth of knowledge in the fields of materials science, physics, chemistry, medicine, biology (giving rise to a whole new field of protein crystallography), etc. X-rays are used in the manufacture of ultramicroscopic devices, semiconductors, plastics, chemicals, and many other useful things. The review of the web information would be too extensive to post here, thus I heartily recommend a google search on the subject. Best regards, A.G.E.
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