July 06, 2011
- X-ray (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : an electromagnetic radiation of the same nature as visible light but of an extremely short wavelength that is produced by bombarding a metallic target with fast electrons in vacuum and that is able to penetrate through various thicknesses of solids and to act on photographic film as light does2 : a photograph taken by the use of X-rays
- How do you use it?
- Even though the doctors were pretty sure Pete had only sprained his ankle, they took a few X-rays to make sure there were no broken bones.
- Are you a word wiz?
Almost everyone knows about X-rays, but fewer people know why the name "X-ray" has an "X" in it. Which answer do you think gives the true explanation?You don't need an X-ray to see that B is the right answer. In 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen noticed that a certain type of material glowed when electric current passed through it while it was inside a specially prepared glass tube. To his surprise, the material also glowed when it was near, but outside the tube. He guessed that some unknown invisible ray created in the tube was getting out and making the material glow. Since he knew nothing about this mysterious ray, RÖntgen called it "X-strahl" in German, (which translates as "X ray" in English). He used "X" because it has long been used in mathematics for an unknown value.