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X-Ray Named Top Scientific Achievement

November 4, 2009

A poll conducted for Britain’s Science Museum on Wednesday named the X-ray the most important modern scientific achievement, beating out the Apollo spacecraft and DNA, AFP reported.

The museum curators selected 10 of the greatest achievements in science, technology and engineering to be voted on by nearly 50,000 members of the public.

The X-ray machine topped the votes, while the discovery of penicillin antibiotics came second, followed by the DNA double helix.

Next was the Apollo 10 space capsule, the V2 rocket engine, Stephenson’s Rocket steam locomotive, the Pilot ACE early computer, the steam engine, the Model T Ford motor car, and the electric telegraph.

Each of the 10 nominees is featured in a special section of the museum. The poll is part of the London museum’s centenary celebration.

Katie Maggs, the Science Museum’s associate curator of medicine, said she was thrilled to see the incredible development of the X-ray machine recognized in the museum’s centenary year.

“X-rays have radically changed the way we see and understand our world — our bodies in particular,” she said.

Ben Bradshaw, Britain’s Culture Secretary, said any competition that pits the Apollo 10 spacecraft against Stephenson’s Rocket and the DNA double helix against the Model T Ford is bound to provide talking points a-plenty.

“The public’s choice of the X-ray machine as the winner is testament to our insatiable curiosity to find out how things work,” he added.

Professor Andy Adam, president of the Royal College of Radiologists, said the X-ray machine had revolutionized medical practice and that the technology had now advanced so much that we are reaching the era of the “transparent patient”.

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