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International Day of Radiology 2017: Meet William Coolidge

Dr. Coolidge poses with Thomas Edison in 1922.
Dr. Coolidge poses with Thomas Edison in 1922.

Today is the International Day of Radiology, coinciding with Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen’s discovery of X-Rays on Nov. 8th, 1895. In honor of today, we’ll focus on an important contributor to the radiology industry: William David Coolidge.

Coolidge was a physicist and engineer, born on October 23rd, 1873 in Hudson, Massachusetts. Showing an early love of all things electrical, he spent his early years working in his town’s machine shop. This experience was an essential foundation for his later research and experiments.

After studying electrical engineering from 1891 to 1896 at MIT, Coolidge traveled to Germany, where he studied until receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig in 1899. Afterwards, he taught at MIT until 1905, and then became a researcher at General Electric, where he made a breakthrough in 1908: ductile tungsten filament used in electric light bulbs.

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