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William Coolidge

William Coolidge

H403/0290

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

William Coolidge. Historical portrait of the US physicist, engineer and inventor William David Coolidge (1873-1975). He is holding a 1,000,000 volt X-ray tube. Coolidge obtained a doctorate in physics (1899) and proceeded to teach physical chemistry until 1905. He then joined the General Electric Company (GEC), rising to become Director of Research by 1940. He discovered how to make tungsten ductile in 1908, greatly increasing the life of the tungsten filaments in electric light bulbs. He improved X-ray tubes (1916) by replacing the cold aluminium cathode with a hot tungsten cathode. He also helped to develop the first submarine detection system.

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