28 Apr '17, 7pm

This Giant X-Ray Generator Helped Set Safe Doses for Radiation

This Giant X-Ray Generator Helped Set Safe Doses for Radiation

Photo: National Institute of Standards and Technology In 1940, the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (NBS) built this 1,400,000-volt X-ray generator, the most powerful of its kind at the time. The machine was designed to deliver X-rays at an extremely stable voltage, a necessary attribute for the development of standard radiation dosage measurements as well as for research and testing of equipment to protect against X-ray radiation. While X-rays were known to be dangerous much earlier than 1940, there wasn’t a good understanding of exactly how much exposure was bad for humans, or what kinds of materials offered effective amounts of protection. At the time, for example, concrete was commonly used to absorb and scatter X-rays, but nobody knew exactly how well it worked. Testing at NBS revealed that concrete responded differently depending on if the radiation was narrow beam ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/history/this-giant-xra...

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