Thursday, October 30, 2014

R such as x: A look at the people – Handelsblatt

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was a secretive man and thorough scientist. On 8 November 1895 he makes a discovery by chance, do not let him go. A specially coated paper began to glow, as some X meters turned on a cathode ray tube. And the paper shone forth, as the X-ray light source in thick black cardboard wrapped. X did not tell anyone of his observation, only to his wife, he said, “I’m something of which the people, when they find it, will say: ‘The X-ray is probably gone mad.’” For weeks closes the physicist in his laboratory and is researching the “X-rays”, as he calls his discovery.

In January 1896, X-ray of his case finally is safe. In the Physical-Medical Society in Würzburg he holds his first and only public lecture on the X-rays. He demonstrated his invention before the eyes of the audience and lit by the hand of a colleague. Fans, awed. Roentgen’s physical invention is to hit with audiences. The ability to look into your own body, fascinated everyone: citizens, scientists and even the Emperor. Wilhelm II. X invites to Berlin to make a demonstration of the invention. In 1901 the first Nobel Prize for physics at Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. Because the latter decides to patent his invention and of the harmful effects of radiation, no one suspects anything, there will be numerous devices: X is for party fun. In shoe stores, customers can view “X-rays” the position of their feet in new shoes with the

But more importantly. The X-ray revolutionized medicine and lays the foundation for further pioneering discoveries -indirekt allowed the X-rays until the discovery of radioactivity. Today is X-rayed in the industry in order to detect errors in components. Airports by light rays our luggage and art historians give the rays shed light on the state of paintings

Revolution diagnostics

But back to the medicine. The X-ray opened a new era in the diagnosis. With the help of X-rays can now be mapped to bone phosphor screens and photographic plates. This works because X-rays are very energetic and so can penetrate matter. Various substances swallow the beams varying degrees: bone let radiation by more than skin or muscles. Therefore emerges on the radiograph of the muscle as a white structure, soft tissue remains dark. The X-radiation occurs when the accelerated charged particles in a vacuum negative, ie electrons decelerate. How are visible light rays electromagnetic waves, only the wavelength is different. The image of the study then provides information about bone fractures or diseases of the lung, the kidney or the gastrointestinal tract. The patient must be of move as little as possible, otherwise the blurred image quickly.

For Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s time you went to health risks little thought. Many people died as a result of radiation or leukemia. Because the high-energy X-rays can damage the genetic material of our cells, cancer can arise. Therefore, the radiation dose must be kept as low as possible. Today patients are therefore the X-ray protection cloak of lead that transmits no radiation.


In recent years, the digital X-ray has spread, especially in dentistry. The images are recorded not more analogous to film, but on a digital imaging plate. The new technique has several advantages: The image quality is better, the recording in seconds available. The doctor can digitally store the pictures, edit and send them to colleagues. So lost fewer shots, less tests must be repeated. In addition, the radiation exposure to the patient decreases, because the digital imaging plate is compared with the conventional X-ray film are much more sensitive. The recording is done faster.

Already in the 1960s dreamed of the British electrical engineer Godfrey Hounsfield of the digitalization of radiography. His vision is to make the body still inside detail more accurately. This should a computer X-ray evaluate the meet from different directions on the body. It would be possible to obtain slice images. A bold plan. 1968 examined Hounsfield with his prototype the brain of a pig: The machine scanned for nine days, the computer took two hours to all measurements to calculate. But it worked: Computed tomography was born. The first CT scan on a human took place in 1971. Today, modern CT scanners use high-resolution cameras and scan the interior of a human in seconds. Come out amazingly detailed, three-dimensional images. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen would certainly be proud.


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