Traveling through Time: Physics, Medicine & X-Rays

Integrating Physics and medicine. How these fields help us grow?

Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main purpose is to understand and unravel how the universe behaves. Conversely, medicine is the science and practice of establishing diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and disease prevention.

How do the two areas relate? Exploring the Intersectionality

To find the answer to this question, I welcome you to voyage with us through the annals of time.

Jean-Noel Hallé is popularly known as the father of medical physics. As a professor of medical physics at the Paris Health Institute in the late 18th century, his teaching focused on musculoskeletal movement, which can be described in physics to a certain extent. Halle was the first to teach anything related to the application of physics in medicine and conducted an investigation of breast cancer. The era of modern medical physics began in the laboratory of Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. While using a cathode ray tube, Roentgen noticed that even after shielding the cathode ray tube with cardboard, he could still see the screen glowing from a few feet away. He knew that this was not the effect of cathode rays he was studying, and called these new rays "x-rays." Roentgen took an X-ray off his wife's hands. This is probably the most famous X-ray in history. Roentgen circulated this picture to his colleagues, and the medical use of "X" rays became obvious.

Soon after the X-ray examination, there was a whirlwind of innovations and discoveries that ultimately (though not immediately) had medical uses. The 1890s was an important year for medical physics. The first X-ray film was taken on the battlefield. The first attempt to use X-rays for treatment was successfully adopted. Although preliminary attempts to treat gastric cancer failed, the failure did not inhibit future treatment efforts, and the number of such efforts still continue to increase.

Thanks to Marie Skłodowska-Curie, Henri Becquerel, Wilhelm Roentgen

and many others now we can benefit from:

Radiotherapy Physics like:

  1. X-ray teletherapy, electron teletherapy, photon teletherapy, hadron teletherapy, Brachytherapy and Curitherapy. Laser therapy, ultraviolet radiation therapy.

  2. Medical Imaging Physics like: Analog and digital radiography, fluoroscopy/radioscopy, angiography, computed tomography (CT), mammogram, dental radiology (including intraoral), bone densitometry (DEXA- dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry).


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A friendly reminder: We've done our research, but you should too! Check our sources against your own and always exercise sound judgment.

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About the Author

Denisa Ravdan

Content Writer & International Growth Ambassador (Galați, Romania)

Denisa Ravdan is a writer from Galați, Romania who has an immense passion for Science and Research. Over the last few years, she has surrounded her studies around Neuroscience and Computer Science. She has a penchant towards Bio-physics and researching for impacting the community.

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