Friday, May 23, 2008

These Naughty, Naughty Roentgen Rays

The official website of the Nobel Foundation has launched Imaging Life, an educational site showing how Nobel Prizes in scientific and medical imaging have affected medicine and popular culture.

Reactions in the media to the discovery of X-rays included the following bit of doggerel:
X-actly So!

The Roentgen Ray, the Roentgen Rays,
What is this craze?
The town's ablaze
With the new phase
Of X-ray's ways.

I'm full of daze,
Shock and amaze;
For nowadays
I hear they'll gaze
Thro' cloak and gown -- and even stays,
These naughty, naughty Roentgen Rays.
Once word of X-rays leaked out of the lab to the populace, it's interesting (and not too surprising) that one of the first applications they thought of was to look at naked ladies. Interest in this certainly hasn't waned -- if anything, we're even more obsessed with it now than ever.

Interestingly enough, this presentation has at least one notable omission: Egas Moniz, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949. Although his prize was awarded for his work on prefrontal leucotomy (a.k.a lobotomy) for treatment of psychosis, he also pioneered the technique of cerebral angiography in 1927, and it has remained one of the premier methods of brain imaging ever since.

No comments: