Inventions - X Rays
Hey there, youngsters! Do you know what X-rays are? They are magical rays that help doctors see through your body! Yes, that’s right, X-rays help doctors see what’s happening inside your body without even opening it up! And they are located in almost every hospital, dentist’s office, and clinic in America.
But do you know who discovered these amazing X-rays? It was a German physicist and professor named Wilhelm C. Roentgen. He was working in his laboratory one day with a vacuum tube that produced streams of weak electrons called cathode rays. While experimenting in a dark room, he noticed that a fluorescent screen three or four feet away glowed. He was amazed since the tube was surrounded by a black paper that prevented ordinary light from escaping.
Roentgen continued his experiments with these new invisible rays and named them X-rays since they were unknown. Later, some scientists called them Roentgen rays. He even won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1901 for his discovery of X-rays!
Nowadays, X-rays are not only used in medicine, but also in astronomy, chemical analysis, and industry. You can even watch airport officials x-ray carry-on luggage in airport terminals! But do you know what’s really important when it comes to X-rays? Safety! A person who receives too many X-rays risks getting cancer, leukemia, cataracts, burns, or other health problems. Pregnant women are advised to avoid X-rays, and all people should request that a “lead apron” be used to shield their eyes and reproductive organs during an X-ray.
And did you know that the measure of doses of radiation produced by X-rays is called a rad, a rem, or a roentgen? And the wavelength of X-rays is about 4 billionths of an inch! That’s much shorter than the wavelengths of radio waves or visible light waves!
The next time you go to the doctor and get an X-ray, remember to ask for a lead apron and be safe. And always remember the amazing story of Wilhelm C. Roentgen and how he discovered the magical X-rays that help doctors see inside our bodies!