Wilhelm Rontgen Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1845 - 1923 *** Full Name: Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen *** Occupation: German Physicist *** Date of Birth: Wilhelm Rontgen was born on March 27th 1845 *** Place of Birth: Wilhelm Rontgen was born in Lennep, Rhine Province, Germany *** Family background: There is virtually no information regarding his family, early life or childhood *** Education: Wilhelm Rontgen attended the Institute of Martinus Herman van Doorn followed by Utrecht Technical School, University of Utrecht and the University of Zurich ***
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 1: Wilhelm Rontgen was born on March 27th 1845 and during the 19th century period in history when scientific discoveries were being made and innovations in mathematics, physics, biology, electricity and chemistry were moving very fast.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 2: He would find himself unfairly expelled from his boarding after a prank went wrong and he was blamed.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 3: Although not overly academic he was nevertheless particularly adept at making mechanical objects which would mean later on he was more the capable of conducting his own experiments.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 4: Although he lacked sufficient qualifications he nevertheless attended the University of Utrecht.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 5: He was then able to attend the University of Zurich where he earned his PhD in mechanical engineering.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 6: While attending the university he was also able to sit in on lectures given by Rudolf Julius Emmanuel Clausius the notable physicist as well as assist and travel to Wurzburg with August Kundt. Three years later they went to Strasbourg.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 7: During 1874 Rontgen would be asked to be a lecturer at the Strasbourg University and the following year he was asked to be a professor at the Academy of Agriculture at Hohenheim in Württemberg.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 8: In 1876 he was asked to go back to Strasbourg as a Professor of Physics and three years after that he was asked to be the Chair of Physics at the University of Giessen.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 9: He would be offered an appointment at the New York City Columbia University but World War I commenced and he decided to remain in Munich where he stayed for the remainder of his career.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 10: It was during 1895 he began experimenting the phenomenon of cathode rays.Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 17: Between 1895 and 1897 he would publish three papers on X-rays.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 11: Completely by accident, he placed a piece of cardboard that had been covered in a fluorescent mineral and placed it near his experiment and observed it glowing in the darkness when he had turned on the cathode rays source.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 12: Instantly he was curious as to what had happened and began conducting further experiments.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 13: Over the next few weeks he hardly left his laboratory, eating and sleeping there as he ran his experiments.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 14: It was during this process that he began calling the rays X-rays with the meaning being that at that point he wasn’t sure what the x was.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 15: After two weeks on near constant work he was ready to try out is experiment on a human subject and used his wife’s hand.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 16: Shortly thereafter as his experiments continued he decided he was better off keeping his work a secret in case he was wrong and feared his reputation might be damaged if that was the case.
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 18: In 1901 he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him.”
Wilhelm Rontgen Fact 19: Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen died on February 10th 1923 from carcinoma of the intestine aged seventy seven in Munich. His body was laid to rest in the Alter Freidhof cemetery in Bonn.
Influence & Legacy: His creation for taking X-rays of the a skeleton whether it is human or animal has been used for decades and would also propel other scientists to look into different types of application for the same and similar technology. As a result of an inheritance from his father he was not in need of any money from a patent so did not take any out and the money he won for the Nobel Prize he donated the University of Wurzburg.
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