“X-rays” are a certain type of electromagnetic radiation that’s been used for more than a century. But have you ever wondered how did they get their weird name? Well, wonder no more because we have the answer.
Let’s find out.
“X-rays”, also called “Roentgen rays”, were first discovered in 1895 by German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. They were in fact discovered by accident while he was experimenting with vacuum tubes. Their main characteristic is that tend to act more like a particle rather than a wave and that’s why we usually talk about these form in radiation in terms of their energy and not they wavelength. But why “X-Rays”? (the article continues after the ad)
The naming comes from Roentgen himself. As he was experimenting with certain types of radiation, he took an x-ray of his wife’s hand and surprisingly it revealed her bones and wedding ring. Because this imaging was caused by an unknown type of radiation, Roentgen called it “X” in order to indicate that they were not known. The name stuck and that’s why even today we call them “X-rays”.