An X-ray machine, usually referred to as an X-ray generator, is a device used to take images of the inside of an object. They are best known for their use in the medical field where they can help medical professionals see inside the body to make a diagnosis (such as looking for a broken bone or tumor). However, they are also important for tool used in security such as with x-ray luggage scanners at airports. Basically, X-ray machines work by passing a beam of X-rays (a type of electromagnetic radiation) through an object. Some of these beams pass through and some are absorbed. The differing pattern of radiation is detected by a special detector screen or device to produce the final image. The X-ray machine was one of the most important medical advancements of all time. Let’s find out who invented this device.
Who invented the X-ray machine?
A number of scientists were responsible for the lead up to the discovery of X-rays. Hermann von Helmholtz was the first to devise equations for X-rays. This led many scientists, such as Nikola Tesla, to investigate this type of radiation. However, it was Wilhelm Röntgen who began observing and documenting X-Rays in 1895 while experimenting with vacuum tubes. His first X-ray image was of his wife’s hand which clearly displayed the bones inside her hand. She was shocked by the image and famously said “I have seen my death!” In 1896 the first X-ray machine was formally presented to the public. For his discovery, Röntgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
Did you know?
Röntgen named his discovery X-rays from the mathematical usage of “x” for an unknown number. In some countries X-rays are known as Röntgen rays!