Making the Invisible Visible: Röntgen's Mysterious X Rays
Amateur scientists who traveled from town to town in the mid-nineteenth century delighted audiences by showing them the ancestor of the neon sign: the air was pumped out of a glass tube with platinum wires embedded in opposite ends, and the interior was made to glow in lively patterns when a high voltage was run across the wires. Transfixed by the fluorescence, the lecturers had however absolutely no idea what caused the electrical excitation in the vacuum tube.
Become a member or log in to view the full text of this article.
OSA Members get the full text of Optics & Photonics News, plus a variety of other member benefits.