Ingenuity—First Medical X-Ray

Ingenuity and Enterprise

The momentous discovery came about because of the interaction between two brothers—Dartmouth astronomy professor Dr. Edwin Brant Frost and Dr. Gilman D. Frost, Dartmouth Medical School professor and director of the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital.

Many years later, E.B. Frost reminisced in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine:

During the years 1887–1889 the writer had been assistant to Professor Emerson in the Physical Laboratory on the ground floor of Reed Hall, and had the privilege of using the apparatus there. When the cable hints were received about Roentgen’s success, it immediately seemed worthwhile to test the numerous vacuum tubes in our laboratory for their capacity to produce mysterious rays. Our good friend H.H.H. Langill, the local photographer, who was always glad to assist in scientific experiments, took care of the developing and printing of pictures. The results were immediate and startling, particularly since the Roentgen article in Nature had not then arrived…None could ever forget the interest felt in watching the development of those first plates on that Saturday evening either January 24 or February 1, 1896, probably the latter.

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