It also took a long time to figure out how use the technology safely. A French physician, Dr. Maxime Menard, had to have his finger amputated when he developed cancer from frequent exposure to radiation while manning an X-ray machine. (In a striking juxtaposition to modern medicine, Menard smoked a cigarette while his offending finger was surgically removed). When Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the X-ray in 1895, the New York Times was so skeptical that the paper referred to the medical breakthrough as the “alleged discovery of how to photograph the invisible”.
(Photo credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images).