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Weird Science

While experimenting with radioactive substances one day, Wilhelm Roentgen discovered that several photographic plates stored in his laboratory had somehow been exposed. Roentgen correctly surmised that strange invisible rays were somehow responsible but was uncertain about what to call them. His solution? He simply dubbed them "X-rays."

[Roentgen was often called a quack -- until his discovery was confirmed and commercialized, whereupon he was showered with nastier epithets by critics who feared that his "mysterious rays" would prove a boon to peeping Toms. Politicians and enterprising businessmen quickly sprang into action. A law introduced in New Jersey, for example, forbade the use of "X-ray opera glasses," and merchants in London began selling X-ray-proof underwear.]

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