World Radiography Day is celebrated every year on November 8, marking the anniversary of the birth of X-rays. We’ve all had one done but we all take this marvelous technology for granted. It’s hard to imagine a world today where x-rays don’t exist. They’re the foundation of many medical diagnostic tools and help doctors discover a range of problems. What’s wonderful is that they do this in a matter of minutes and completely painlessly! The day also celebrates the hard-working radiographers and radiologists who make x-rays possible.
History of World Radiography Day
X-rays were discovered accidentally by Professor Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen of the Wuerzburg University, Germany in 1895. Röntgen was working with a cathode-ray tube in his laboratory when he noticed a fluorescent glow of crystals on a table near his tube, which contained a bulb with negative and positive electrodes. When the air in the tube was evacuated and a high voltage was applied, the tube began producing a fluorescent glow. Shielding the tube with black paper, he found that material placed a few feet away from the tube generated a green fluorescent light.
With these observations, he concluded that the tube was emitting a new type of ray that was capable of passing through the paper covering and exciting the phosphorescent materials. He discovered that this new ray could pass through numerous substances, casting shadows on solid objects. Röntgen also realized that the ray could pass through human tissues but not through bones and metal. One of his first experiments was a film of his wife’s hand where her bones and ring are visible.
This discovery was a scientific breakthrough and was rightly received with enthusiastic interest by both scientists and everyone else! Other scientists could easily duplicate his experiment since the cathode tube was very well known then. Several scientists even dropped other lines of research to pursue these newly discovered rays with the discovery receiving heavy media coverage.
Several medical personnel began using radiographs in Europe and the U.S. just a month after the discovery. Six months later, radiographs also found their way to the battlefield to help wounded soldiers.
World Radiography Day timeline
Röntgen discovers x-rays by accident.
John Hall-Edwards uses X-rays in a surgical operation.
Chandra X-ray Observatory is launched allowing the exploration of violent processes in the universe.
As of 2010, around five billion medical radiography examinations have been conducted globally.
World Radiography Day FAQs
How do you remove radiation from your body?
There is no known cure for radiation. Barriers can however prevent exposure and some medications may remove some radiation from the body.
Does radiation stay in the body forever?
The radiation only stays in the body for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
Are X-rays dangerous?
When high doses of X-ray radiation are absorbed within our bodies, it can damage molecular structures and potentially cause harm.
How to Observe World Radiography Day
Get a medical check-up
Visit your doctor to get a full-body check-up done — even if you feel fine. Prevention is always better than cure.
Honor the pioneers
Pay your respects to the many radiographers and radiologists who handled x-rays and related equipment without any safety gear as the negative effects were unknown back then. Their sacrifice allowed humanity to learn more and improve x-ray practices.
Help spread information and spread awareness on the many benefits of medical imaging. Also, take this day to thank the many radiographers and radiologists currently working hard to improve our lives.
5 Interesting Facts About X-rays
Discovery of the D.N.A. structure
X-rays were crucial in helping us identify the famous helix shape of human D.N.A.
Diagnosis of tuberculosis
X-rays could diagnose tuberculosis early as doctors could see shadows and spots in the lungs.
Röntgen did not patent them
He did not patent them as he wanted x-rays to be used by all for the benefit of everyone.
“X” in x-ray stands for unknown
Röntgen named it thus because of the accidental nature of its discovery.
First x-ray death
Thomas Edison's assistant was the first person to die from exposure to x-rays.
Why World Radiography Day is Important
Radiographs help people
An x-ray is a medical marvel that helps people identify several illnesses and issues with the body. They have helped countless people since their discovery.
The day creates medical awareness
The day also serves as a reminder to get a medical check-up done once in a while to make sure everything is okay. Check-ups can often be easy, quick, and non-invasive procedures.
A day to pay your respects
Appreciate the many radiographers and radiologists who work hard to provide this service. Also, take a moment to remember the several men and women who pioneered the x-ray technology to make it as quick and accessible as it is today.
World Radiography Day dates