On This Day In History: Discovery Of X-Rays By Wilhelm Roentgen Reported – On Jan 5, 1896

AncientPages.com - On 5 January 1896, an Austrian newspaper reported  a discovery of a new type of radiation known today as X-rays.

Wilhelm Roentgen, a German professor of physics, was the first person to discover electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range. Roentgen discovered that the X-ray would pass through the tissue of humans leaving the bones and metals visible.

Left: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen; Right: First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig's hand. Image: wikipedia

Left: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen; Right: First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig's hand. Image: wikipedia

Many people had observed the effects of X-ray beams before, but Roentgen was the first scientists to study them systematically. To highlight the unknown nature of his discovery, he called them X-rays because in mathematics "X" is used to indicate the unknown quantity.

In one of Roentgen’s first experiments late in 1895 was a film of his wife Bertha's hand with a ring on her finger.

The news of Roentgen?s discovery spread quickly throughout the world. Scientists everywhere could duplicate his experiment. In early 1896, X-rays were being utilized clinically in the United States for such things as bone fractures and gunshot wounds.

Röntgen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Würzburg after his extraordinary discovery.

For his remarkable achievement he was also honored with the first he first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.

AncientPages.com

Expand for references