|It all began with a famous picture of a woman's hand
showing her wedding ring - and the
bones underneath. It was the first X-ray the world had seen and the woman
was the wife of its discoverer, Wilhelm Roentgen.
The German physics professor had come across the phenomenon earlier, while
radiation at his Bivarian home 110 years ago this weekend.
He watched the path of rays pass from an induction coil, through a partially
evacuated glass tube and on to a screen covered in fluorescent material,which
was illuminated by the rays. Roentgen put out his hand by accident -
and saw the image of his skeleton.
Daniel Espino,of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council,said
the number of lives the discovery had saved 'must be astronomical',adding:'He
realised it might have huge importance.'
Stewart Emmens,curator for medical health at the Science Museum,said
the medical world realised the potential of X-rays immediately. 'It gave
us a window into the internal workings of the human body,' he added.
X-rays are also used to test buildings for faults and to reveal hidden
works behind paintings. Roentgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize for physics
[The Metro Sep28,2006]