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1876: Eugen Goldstein coined the term "cathode rays" to describe tubes that use a negative electrode to emit a stream of particles which glow on the glass of the tubes. Cathode ray tubes were crucial to the development of x-rays.
1887: Physicist Nikola Telsa used the Crookes tube and and his own tubes to experiment with x-rays. Tesla did not know that he was working with x-rays, but classified it as “radiant energy”. Tesla also cautioned the dangers of x-rays.
1892: Heinrich Hertz investigated x-rays. He penetrated thin metal foil, such as aluminum, using x-rays. His student, Philipp Lenard, also studied the penetration of different materials using x-rays. These two scientists used cathode ray tubes to generate x-rays.
1895: X-rays discovered by scientist Wilhelm Roentgen. While working with cathode ray tubes, he noticed a glow on a wall. Roentgen saw that the cathode rays were traveling through solid material. When he put his hand in front of the cathode tube, he saw the bones of his hand. One of the first pictures taken with x-rays was when Roentgen told his wife to place her hand in front of the x-ray emissions. The outline of her hand, her bones, and her wedding ring can be seen in the photograph.
1896: Roentgen published his paper “On a new kind of ray: preliminary communication” in a scientific journal and the public became aware of the topic, but Roentgen received greater attention in the scientific community than throughout the general public. Roentgen called the radiation emission “x-ray” where ‘x’ stood for something unknown. His friends tried to persuade Roentgen to call them Roentgen rays. The term “Roentgen rays” is used in some Germanic countries today.
1896: Thomas Edison perfected the x-ray machine and called it a fluoroscope. The fluoroscope included a screen made of tungstate of calcium. These screens made brighter x-ray images.