Maddy Snell

Invention of X-Rays

Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen accidently discovered the x-ray in 1895. At the time he was experimenting with his cathode ray generator. Wilhelm then realized that the beam had the ability to penetrate and spread into deeper layers than the world thought was possible. As soon as he understood the machines fully ability, he worked on developing the machine even more so he could realise it to the public. As a trial Wilhelm used his newly found machine and x-rayed his wife's hand and uncovered that it captured a picture of her bone underneath the skin. The discovery was named x-radiation, this is because the power that the machine has to use its rays to see into deeper layers of the body.

How X-Rays work

X-rays have an enormous power to penetrate through materials that contain light atoms an example of this is flesh. The heavier atoms like metal absorb them, the calcium the bones are classified as a type of metal. A beam of high energy electrons crash into the metal target and that is how x-rays are produced. A filter close to the x-ray source blocks all the low energy rays to ensure that only the high energy rays pass through the patient and towards the sheet of film, that it is printed on. That is how the medical staff take pictures of inside the human body of the bones and doctors are able to determine if anything is wrong or if something is broken. These rays were discovered to be unsafe for the skin and new ways of medical images are being developed.


Medical x-rays increase the ability to detect disease or injury early enough for a medical problem to be managed, treated, or cured. When applied and performed appropriately, these procedures can improve health and may even save a person’s life. It is cheaper than other similar procedures and equipment is easily available so you wont have to travel too far to have access to one. X-rays are also very quick so the whole process including printing of the film can be over in under 10 minutes. X-rays can diagnosis more serious conditions including as arthritis, abnormal bone growths, to see if you are at risk for osteoporosis or if you have developed bone cancer and locate foreign objects in the body.They can also be used on animals for the same reasons.


There aren't many limitations in comparison to the long list of positives however x-rays don’t provide much detailed information on the muscles, tendons or joints so it doesn't go into much depth of the injury. Another limitation when having an x-ray is that you can’t change the imaging plane without the patient moving like MRI’s can. A major negative with x-rays is that it will expose you to dangerous ionising radiation which could lead to birth defects, cancer, diseases and alter you DNA. They also only show 2D images unlike a CT scan which could show a 3D image.

Full-body X-ray scanner to be replaced with ones that produce cartoon-like image

•Seven of the major American airports are changing their x-ray scanning system from the naked x-ray images which people compare it to a virtual strip search to cartoon body shaped images.

•This has been changed to speed up the queues and delays within the airport not for privacy concerns of many of the travellers.

•When the “backscatter” x-ray system first emerged in the US airports it has been the focus of many protests and even law suits to peer beneath the travellers clothing.

•The new technology will be complete in under two seconds which will stop the congestion in the screening lines and takes less staff to operate.

•The old machines are being moved to smaller airports in the US.

News TSA removing x-ray machines from airports



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