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Mysteries of vernacular: X-ray - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel


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TEDEd Animation

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The story of the word X-Ray is one of great thinkers. French philosopher Rene Descartes isolated the letters X, Y and Z to stand for unknowns, and centuries later, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the X-ray, using the X for the unknown nature of the radiation. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel shed some light on the etymology of this modern marvel.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

To learn more about the history of X-ray tubes and Wilhelm Röntgen, visit The Cathode Ray Tube Site. This is a detailed animation about exactly what happens during an X-ray. Here's a set of extraordinary X-rays as featured in TIME Magazine.

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Meet The Creators

  • Director Jessica Oreck
  • Producer Rachael Teel

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