Philip Adam ~ Jessica

Philip Adam ~ Jessica DiMarzio
Kristie Folk ~ MacKenzie McCollum
Chelsea Walker
While working with a
cathode ray tube in his
laboratory, German
physicist, W.C. Roentgen
discovered it produced a
previously unknown
“invisible light.”
This ray was emitted from
the tube and had the
capabilities of passing
through the heavy paper
covering the tube.
• W.C. Roentgen chose to name the invisible light Xray, since X is the mathematical symbol for the
• He was initially investigating the effects vacuum
tube equipment and what occurred when electric
charges passed through the tube.
• This led to him stumbling upon a great discovery.
While repeating his experiment, he added an
aluminum widow to permit the cathode rays to
exit the gaseous tube. He also added cardboard
covered with barium platinum cyanide to protect
the aluminum. It was then that he noted a
florescent glow on the cardboard screen.
• Prior to the discovery of the Xray, inventive measures were
taken to diagnose bone injuries.
• Five hundred years prior to W.C.
Roentgen, Italian doctor Guido
Lanfranc used a horse hair
between patient’s teeth to
determine if a facture was
present or not based on the
musical tone produced by the
• Lanfranc’s diagnosis was usually
fairly accurate.
Prior to the discovery,
individuals used
makeshift metal
detectors on gunshot
wound victims
including President
James Garfield.
• Preceding the time of the X-Rays,
other scientists discovered light
waves existed other than those
in the visible spectrum.
• J.C. Maxwell discovered that light
was actually an electromagnetic
wave. Since 1799, scientists had
begun to discover the
electromagnetic spectrum.
• W.C. Roentgen’s contribution led
to one practical application of
these prior findings.
• W.C. Roentgen’s discovery of the X-ray
impacted the world drastically. Scientists
worldwide could easily duplicate his
experiment because the cathode tube was
very well known experiment at that time.
Gunshot wound
As short as twelve
months after his
discovery, X-rays were
being employed
clinically in the United
States for things such as:
Lungs (vital organs)
gunshot wounds
bone fractures
kidney stones
the size and condition
of vital organs
Kidney Stones
• During the year following his
discovery, more than 1,000
publications were written
concerning the topic.
• While the majority of society was
enthused about the medical
impacts of this discovery, quickly
implications arose for this misuse
of this tool.
• People soon considered the X-ray
could be used as an intrusive tool
to look through walls, doors, and
invade privacy.
• Impacts included new employment positions
such as:
• medical technicians
• X-ray researchers
• X-ray developers
 Doctors were busier than ever because
patients always wanted X-rays.
 This increased the salaries of doctors and
technicians, as well as increased the hospital's
 This also increased the cost of health care.
The invention of the X-ray
allowed women to emerge from
their homes and obtain jobs as
Elizabeth Fleischmann, one of the
first radiologist’s in America, was
also the first woman to open her
own laboratory located in San
• X-rays also helped bring
about a new way of
thinking about sexuality.
The Roaring Twenties led
to women asserting
themselves into all facets
of the world.
• Less than a year after this
invention, it was permitted
to be used in courtroom
Also, this discovery led to people thinking that it
predicted a pathway to the afterlife.
After the first X-ray was taken of Roentgen’s
wife’s hand she stated,
“I have seen my death”
-A. Bertha Roentgen (Dec. 22, 1895)
The X-ray was more than just a medical and scientific
revolution. The X-ray led to new genres in the arts
such as literary science fiction, art work, and
• The global involvement in the World Wars led to an extensive
increase in the X-ray industry.
• The Army was searching for men who had a background in
the x-ray field to run their X-ray division.
• As "preparedness" swept the country, X-Ray experts joined
the Army Medical Corps and training schools were set up
across America to improve the portability of the machine
• Before WWI, America
had a total of five
mobile X-Ray machines.
• After fifteen months of
fighting there were over
seven hundred mobile
• Westinghouse Co.
developed 35mm film to
use in the x-ray
machines instead of
glass and larger film
used previously
• Today, the X-ray is used in all facets of the
medical industry.
• In 1901, W.C. Roentgen won the Nobel Prize in
physics for his design of the cathode rays.
• Roentgen also received the Honorary Doctor’s
Degree of Medicine, but he refused to take on
patients because he wanted the entire world to
benefit from his discovery.
• At the time of his death he was nearly bankrupt.
• The first X-ray was taken December 22, 1895
of Bertha Roentgen’s hand.
The world's X-Ray infatuation was so deep poems were written
about it. The following appeared in Electrical Review:
The Roentgen Rays, the Roentgen Rays,
What is this craze?
The town's ablaze
With the new phase
of X-Ray's ways.
I'm full of daze,
shock and amaze;
For nowadays
I hear they'll gaze
Thro' cloak and gown--and even stays,
Those naughty, naughty Roentgen Rays.52
• X-ray - used, first, body, produced, uses, device, X-Ray Discovery, A Diagnostic Tool,
Practical Uses of X-rays. (n.d.). Medical Discoveries. Retrieved February 7,
2011, from
• Miller, A. (2003, April 14). Impact of the X-Ray. University of Mary Washington.
Retrieved February 7, 2011, from http://www.umw.ed u/hisa/ resources
/Student %20Pr ojects/A my%20Miller%20--%20X-Ray/students.
• All Images from

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