Why are X rays so named?

December 20, 2016 | Author: | Posted in Medicine & Surgery

The X ray was discovered in 1895 by a German Professor of physics at the University of Würzburg in Germany. His name was Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen. It is said that this German scientist, who gave his
discovery to the world without personal profit, made the actual discovery of X rays late on the night of November 3, 1895, after all his assistants had left the laboratory. In mathematics the letter x stands for any unknown quantity. Röntgen called the new rays X rays because he did not understand their nature, X representing that which had not yet been explained by science. They are also sometimes called Röntgen rays, after the discoverer. Röntgen, who received the Nobel prize in 1901, died in 1923 at the age of seventy-eight. His surname, also spelled Roentgen, is generally pronounced runt-gen. Just how x came to stand for an unknown quantity in mathematics is not known for certain. It may have originated as follows: In old Spanish, as in modern Portuguese, x represented the sound sh. The Arabs represented an unknown quantity in mathematics by the word shei, meaning “thing,” which the Spanish mathematicians borrowed and wrote xei. Later, for the sake of brevity, the initial x was substituted for the word. Many erroneously suppose that a radiologist is a radio technician. Radiology (the term was adopted before the development of wireless) is the science of radio-active substances and the art of applying its principles in the diagnosis and cure of disease, and a radiologist is one versed in the use of X rays.

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