How many of you saw the Google Doodle today and wondered about the occasion? I confess I did, and thought it was in honor of Marie Curie’s birthday on November 7. I forgot about German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered x-rays by accident on November 8, 1895, while experimenting with vacuum tubes. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics six years later.
X-rays are used for so many things in the world of medicine, from basic imaging to treatment for cancer, that it’s hard to imagine how modern medicine could have evolved without this discovery. Many other basic medical breakthroughs didn’t come about until well after x-rays were discovered. Aspirin was developed in 1899. Insulin was discovered in 1922; penicillin in 1928. The polio vaccine wasn’t developed until 1953. And the World Health Organization certified that smallpox was eradicated in 1979.
All history aside, what we really like about x-rays are the interesting pictures. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the x-rayography site!