Imaging

To physicians keen to understand the hidden secrets of the human body, few ideas can have been more appealing than the dream of looking through the skin to examine the tissues beneath. The means for achieving this did not appear until a little over a century ago, and then very much by accident. On the evening of November 8, 1895, Wilhem Roentgen, a German physicist working at the University of Wurzburg, noticed that light was coming from fluorescent material in his laboratory and worked out that this was the result of radiation escaping from a shielded gas discharge tube with which he was working. He was fascinated by the ability of this radiation to pass through apparently opaque materials and promptly set about investigating its properties in more detail. While conducting experiments with different thicknesses of tinfoil, he noticed that that if the rays passed though his hand, they cast a shadow of the bones.

Quick to see the potential medical uses for his new discovery, Roentgen immediately wrote a paper entitled "On a new kind of ray: a preliminary communication" for the Wurzburg Physical Medical Society, reprints of which he sent to a number of eminent scientists with whom he was friendly. One of these, Franz Exner of Vienna, was the son of the editor of the Vienna Presse, and hence the news was published quickly, first in that paper and then across Europe. Whereas we are inclined to believe that rapid publication is a feature of the Internet age, the Victorians were no slouches in this matter, and by January 24, 1896 a reprint of the Wurzburg paper had appeared in the London Electrician i a major journal able to bring details of the new invention to a much wider technical audience.

The speed of the response was remarkable. Many physics laboratories already had gas discharge tubes, and within a month physicists in a dozen countries were reproducing Roentgen l findings. Edwin Frost produced an x-ray image of a patient ^ fractured wrist for his physician brother, Gilmon Frost, at Dartmouth College in the United States, while at McGill University in Montreal, John Cox used the new rays to locate a bullet in a gunshot victim's leg. Similar results were obtained in cities as far apart as Copenhagen, Prague, and Rijeka in Croatia. Inevitably, not everyone was initially quite so impressed; The Lancet of February 1, 1896 expressed considerable surprise that the

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment