It was at the university of Würzburg that, on 8 November 1895, he discovered as yet unknown rays when working with cathode ray tubes – widespread among physicists at the time – which he christened x-rays in his subsequent ground-breaking publication “Über eine neue Art von Strahlen” (About a New Kind of Rays) after the unknown in mathematics. Early photographs of hand bones proved the existence of the rays as the first “x-ray images” in history and already bode well for medical use. Five years later, Röntgen became a professor in Munich, where he remained until 1920. Through his discovery of the x-ray, the German word for which is actually named after him (Röntgenstrahlung), which hailed a new era of medical diagnostics and therapy and the structural detection of crystals and molecules, Röntgen became world-famous and received the first Nobel Prize for Physics on 10 December 1901.

X-ray of hand with ring. Radiograph of the hand of Albert von Kolliker, made at the conclusion of Röntgen’s lecture and demonstration at the
Wurzburg Physical-Medical Society.

Röntgen apparatus. “Apparate von WC Röntgen. Ionisierung der luft durch röntgenstrahlen.” Translates to Ionization of air by x-ray.

Photograph of the physics laboratory of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen at the University of Würzburg.

Letter from Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen to the Board of the Federal Technical Institute in Zurich dated 16 November 1865.

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