The First X-Ray Photograph

Today we’re winding the clock back, all the way back to 1895.

That’s right: December 1895, when Wilhelm Röntgen revealed the bones of his wife’s hand in the first X-ray photograph.


Luckily, x-rays have come pretty far in the past hundred plus years. At the time, Röntgen’s wife Anna Bertha Ludwig reportedly exclaimed, “I have seen my death” after seeing the x-ray photo with her wedding ring hovering over her knuckles.

That ability to see within the body without surgery radically improved the life-saving capabilities of medicine in the 20th century. Röntgen went on to receive the Nobel Prize in 1901.

Learn more here.

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Courthouse X-ray scanner finds live monkey in purse

Bet you didn’t see this one coming!

The security at the Bay County Court Facility in Michigan to see visitors attempt to bring prohibited items past them.

Recently, though, they experienced something new- and a little more exotic than usual!

Yes, a patron- Linda Stevenson- had a squirrel monkey stowed in her purse, detected by the facility x-ray machine.

squirrel_monkey_species“I pushed the button for it to go through when it started making noises,” said Bay County Sheriff’s Court Security Deputy Pat McIver. “I was like, ‘What was that?’ She goes, ‘Oh, that’s my monkey.'”

The X-ray captured an image of the tiny animal’s skeleton within Stevenson’s purse.

“I said, ‘I need to see your monkey,'” McIver said. “She unzipped her purse, the monkey stuck its head out and looked around, and then she zipped it back up.”

McIver told Stevenson she could not bring the monkey into the building. She returned him to her car, then quickly conducted her small claims-related business inside the courthouse.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all!

Read the full story here.


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Mysterious X-ray flash in deep space baffles astronomers


A mysterious flash of X-rays has been spotted by Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in deep space, and astronomers are baffled.

The X-ray source was unremarkable for a long time. But in October 2014, it erupted and became at least 1000 times brighter in a few hours. After about 24 hours, the source had faded to the point that it couldn’t be detected by the observatory.

“Ever since discovering this source, we’ve been struggling to understand its origin,” said Franz Bauer of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. “It’s like we have a jigsaw puzzle but we don’t have all of the pieces.”

Two of the three main possibilities to explain the X-ray source invoke gamma-ray burst (GRB) events, triggered either by the collapse of a massive star or by the merger of a neutron star with another neutron star or a black hole.

Possible explanations for the CDF-S X-ray source are a GRB that is not pointed toward Earth, or a GRB that lies beyond the small galaxy. A third possibility is that a medium-sized black hole shredded a white dwarf star.

“None of these ideas fits the data perfectly,” said Ezequiel Treister, also of the Pontifical Catholic University, “but then again, we’ve rarely if ever seen any of the proposed possibilities in actual data, so we don’t understand them well at all.”

No similar events have been found by Chandra in other parts of the sky.

What do you think happened?

Read the full story here.

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Fruit Gourmet Uses X-Rays for Quality Control


Fruit Gourmet supplies a wide variety of fruits to consumers including prunes, apricots, figs, grapes, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries, apples, blueberries, bananas and cranberries.

Their products are sold both as cooking ingredients and as healthy snacks, packed in bags as well in bulk.

The company uses x-rays for the inspection of bulk streams of the fruit pieces.  

Because of careful supplier selection and long processing experience, products such as Fruit Gourmet’s shredded apricot rarely contain contaminants. However, the highly sensitive x-ray inspection system can be set to even higher levels of sensitivity for the contaminants that have been known to occur in such agricultural products, such as minute particles of glass or stone.

The company’s slogan has the product itself saying “I am not the fruit of hazard”, meaning that its level of quality did not just happen by chance but is the result of many years of experience combined with excellent raw materials.

CEO Emeric Cadalen sees the security offered by their new x-ray inspection system as just one more extension of this approach, in which nothing is left to chance.

We can’t wait to see how companies will continue to evolve, using the latest in x-ray technology to add value for consumers!

Read the full story here.

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X-ray saves choking baby’s life


An x-ray image has revealed how a baby choked on a penny lodged in their throat.

Kayleigh Porter was terrified when her daughter Skyla, 1, started violently choking. Porter was frantic and completely unaware that Skyla had swallowed a penny. She slapped Skyla on the back to keep her from choking before the paramedics arrived.

She was rushed to hospital where doctors initially thought her throat had closed up after having chicken pox.

It was not until she had an x-ray that the penny was discovered.

“The doctors were in absolute awe at how blocked it was,” Porter said.

After paramedics arrived, Skyla relapsed again as the coin moved inside her throat. After the x-ray, she was then taken into surgery and put to sleep so that the coin could be removed.

We’re constantly in awe of the power of x-rays. We’re glad you’re okay, Skyla!

Read the full story from Mirror.

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The Future of X-rays



The future of x-rays? Happy Monday!

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X-ray pulses reveal structure of viral cocoon


An international team of scientists has used high-intensity X-ray pulses to determine the structure of the crystalline protein envelope of an insect virus.

The tiny viruses with their crystal casing are by far the smallest protein crystals ever analyzed using X-ray crystallography.

“Simulations based on our measurements suggest that our method can probably be used to determine the structure of even smaller crystals consisting of only hundreds or thousands of molecules,” reports Chapman, a member of the Hamburg Center for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI). “This takes us a huge step further towards our goal of analyzing individual molecules.”

This opens up new opportunities for the study of protein structures.

Read the full story here.

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