He is best known for his pioneering efforts in the field of electricity and radio, but Nikola Tesla he had over 300 patents to his name. The Serbian-American inventor was not only productive, but extremely ahead of his time. For example, not everyone knows that he dabbled in X-rays as early as 1894, two years before Wilhelm Röntgen announced the development of this technology. That of his foot could be the first X-ray in history.
It sounds vaguely recriminatory, but had it not been for the fire that destroyed all of his equipment (including radiation testing equipment) in 1895, Tesla might even have beaten Röntgen on time. Sportingly, when Röntgen released his work on X-rays and radiography in January 1896, Tesla sent him a congratulatory letter that included his first images. Röntgen reciprocated sending him his praise.
X-rays under the influence of Tesla
Nikola Tesla, however, did not just study the X-ray: He also experimented to create a machine capable of producing images based on his most famous invention, the Tesla coil. He called these images "shadowgraphs" and took several of them himself. Two of the most beautiful? An x-ray, sorry: a shadowgraph of his hand and one of his foot. In the latter you can even see the metal pieces of his shoe!
As mentioned, his abilities went beyond the times: for this reason Tesla intuited in advance the effective uses of X-rays in the medical field. it could be used to find foreign objects in the body or even detect lung disease.
He also sensed the risks of the X-ray
The scientist noticed skin changes, pain, swelling and even hair loss. He attributed this to ozone and nitrous acid generated by the rays rather than to the rays themselves: an error of assessment, in this case, nitrous acid in particular had no connection with the nature of the rays, but this did not prevent him. to try to put in place some first safety measures against these negative effects.
In fact, he understood that distance and time were crucial factors in saving the human body from the harmful effects of X-rays. And he even tried to make an aluminum shield to create a protective barrier.
Amazing how despite all his pioneering work, Tesla died alone and in poverty. Or perhaps it is perfectly understandable, being a deeply generous person and interested only in scientific progress.