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How Stuff Works - Essay Example

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INVENTION OF X-RAY Name Instructor Date As early as 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen, a German Physicist accidentally invented X- Ray when he was carrying out an experiment with electron beams in a gas discharge tube. Notably, this physicist observed a glow in the fluorescent screen after turning on the electron beam…
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How Stuff Works
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"How Stuff Works"

He then replaced the cardboard with other objects but surprisingly he observed the same results. He finally positions his hand in front of the tube and to his shock; he saw the silhouette of his bones projected onto the fluorescent screen. This was double amazing since he discovered X-rays and their most beneficial application at the same time. His discovery triggered an important medical advancement in human history. He helped solve the dilemma of examining body parts underlying the skin without the necessity of opening them up through an operation. X-ray, makes it real for doctors to view through the human body and examine broken bones, cavities as well as swallowed objects. This inventory was a major development in the medical world. It stood to solve anomalies previously solved through operations only. It helps prevent use of unnecessary operations. With the advanced X –rays, a doctor can now safely examine even softer tissues such as the lungs, blood vessels and the intestines located at delicate parts of the body. Notably, x-rays like visible light rays are wavelike forms of electromagnetic energy carried by particles known as photons. The difference between visible rays and X-rays is exhibited in the energy level of the particular photons. Notably, as the electrons move inside the atoms, they produce both visible and the X-rays. As Tom asserts, these electrons occupy dissimilar energy levels, or orbitals, around an atom’s nucleus. According to Tom, as the atom drops to a lower orbital, it releases some energy in the form of a photon. He further posits that the energy in such photon depends on how far the photon has dropped between the orbitals. Tom adds that collision of an atom and a photon leads to the absorption of the photon’s energy by the atom prompting the electron jumping to a higher energy level. Further as the electron falls back to its original energy level, it releases extra energy in the form of a light photon. X-ray photons have too much energy than enables them to pass through most things including the human body. According to Tom, the “heart” of an x-ray machine is an electrode pair, a cathode and an anode that sits inside a glass vacuum tube. He further advances that the cathode is a heated filament similar to an older fluorescent lamp. The x-ray machine passes current through the filament, heating it up and in the process sputters electrons on the surface of the filament. The positively charged anode, a flat disc made of tungsten, draws the electrons across the tube. The voltage difference between the cathode and the anode is extremely high. This makes the electrons fly through the tube with a great deal of force. When a speeding electron collides with a tungsten atom, it knocks loose an electron in one of the atom’s lower orbitals. An electron in a higher orbital immediately falls to the lower energy level, releasing its extra energy in the form of a photon. The drop by this electron is a big one and therefore the photon has a high energy level in the name of an X-ray photon. Free electrons can also generate photons without hitting an atom. An atom’s nucleus may attract a speeding electron just enough to alter its course. Like a comet whipping around the sun, the electron slows down and changes direction as it speeds past the atom. This “braking” action causes the electron to emit excess energy in form of an X— Read More
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