Fact File about the Invention of the X-Ray: Invention: X-Ray *** Date of Invention: 1885 *** Name of Inventor: Wilhelm Rontgen *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1845 - 1923 *** Nationality of Inventor: German *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution / Victorian (1850 - 1914) *** Category: Medical *** Country of Origin: Germany *** Facts about the Inventor, Wilhelm Rontgen, and the invention of the X-Ray ***
Fact 1: Who invented the X-Ray? The X-Ray was invented by Wilhelm Rontgen
in 1885 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1850 -
Fact 2: Who invented the X-Ray? Prior to the invention of the X-Ray in 1885, there was
no alternative but to perform exploratory surgeries to identify injuries such as
broken bones or tumors and the location of bullets.
Fact 3: Who invented the X-Ray? The inventor of the X-Ray, Wilhelm Rontgen, was born on March 27, 1845 in Remscheid, Germany and died on February 10, 1923.
He was married to Anna Bertha Ludwig and the couple had one, adopted child
called Josephine Bertha Ludwig who was Anna's niece.
Fact 4: Who invented the X-Ray? The early years of Wilhelm Rontgen were spent in
Apeldoorn in Holland where he was raised by his wealthy German father and his
Fact 5: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen was educated the Utrecht
Technical School. He was a terrible student, more interested in having fun than
working on his studies. He ended up being expelled from school when he refused
to 'snitch' on the name of a boy who had insulted a teacher. His father was
furious as he wanted his wayward son to receive a good college education.
Fact 6: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen eventually entered the
Polytechnic School in Zurich, Swizerland taking courses in applied mathematics
and mechanical engineering. Despite his early problems Wilhelm Rontgen began to
excel in physics and thoroughly enjoyed working on experiments in the lab.
Fact 7: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen completed his doctorate
and following his education he took a job as a teacher at the Academy of
Agriculture at Hohenheim, Württemberg. He enjoyed teaching and continued to
conduct research in the subjects that particularly interested him.
Fact 8: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen was fascinated by
Electricity and began to experiment in discharges
of electricity through conductors and insulators. He admired the work of the
English scientist Michael Farady who had discovered the electromagnetic rotation
in gases and the effects of the conduction of heat in crystals. He also began
studying cathode ray tubes.
Fact 9: Who invented the X-Ray? His interested in physics and his
experiments in the lab resulted in Wilhelm Rontgen's accidental invention of the
X-Ray. He began to focus on cathode ray tubes, and the work of Sir William
Crookes (1832-1919) and Johann Willhelm Hittorf (1824-1914), and began
replicating many of the classic experiments involving cathode ray tubes.
Fact 10: Who invented the X-Ray? In one of his experiments he covered a
cathode ray tube in foil and placed it in an cardboard covering to prevent light
from entering. He then went on to investigate the weird glow that came from the
electron beam that was omitted from the cathode ray tube on different types of
surfaces. He then started to paint various colour producing chemicals and
compounds on screens to assess the effect.
Fact 11: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen prepared a paper screen
that he painted with barium platinocyanide. Wilhelm Rontgen was particularly
interested in Barium platinocyanide because it had the properties of
Phosphorescence, Cathodoluminescence and Fluorescence.
Fact 12: Who invented the X-Ray? Phosphorescence is something that glows
with light without becoming hot, Cathodoluminescence is luminescence excited by
the impact of an electron beam and Fluorescence is the light produced when
electricity flows through a tube that is filled with a type of gas.
Fact 13: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen held up objects in front
of the beam and and every time, the barium platinocyanide screen would light up.
He experimented with many different types of materials such as paper, cardboard,
wood, rubber and tinfoil and found that the beam was still visible.
Fact 14: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen discovered that although
the cathode tube, that was covered in foil and the room was completely dark,
that the screen covered in fluorescent material (barium platinocyanide) was
illuminated by the rays.
Fact 15: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen had discovered that,
under certain conditions, cathode rays generated new and different rays as they
impacted on an object.
Fact 16: Who invented the X-Ray? Whilst conducting his experiments
Wilhelm Rontgen also discovered that there was one exception - a sheet of lead
completely blocked the rays - they could not penetrate lead.
Fact 17: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen called these new rays
"X-rays". As he continued to look at the effect of an "X-Ray" on lead Wilhelm Rontgen
received the shock of his life. Whilst holding a disc of lead between his
fingers he was startled, indeed horrified, to recognize the outline of his own
Fact 18: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen quote: He detailed the
phenomenon in his note book saying "If one holds a hand between the discharge
apparatus and the screen, one sees the darker shadow of the bones within the
slightly fainter shadow image of the hand itself".
Fact 19: Who invented the X-Ray? The projected image of his own hand
showed a marked contrast between the solid bones and the translucent,
Fact 20: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen realised that his
extraordinary discovery of the X-Ray allowed the internal structures of the body
to be made visible to a physician, without the necessity of surgery.
Fact 21: Who invented the X-Ray? Wilhelm Rontgen then went on to complete
another important experiment - he used a photographic plate to capture an image
of his wife's hand, complete with her wedding ring.
Fact 22: Who invented the X-Ray? The invention of the X-Ray in 1885
caused a sensation in the medical world and beyond and almost immediately X-Ray
Departments were set up in various hospitals and infirmaries. Wilhelm Rontgen
never patented his invention of the X-Ray, he just wanted mankind to benefit
from his discovery. He received many honors and was awarded the very first Nobel
Prize in Physics in 1901. Wilhelm Rontgen died from carcinoma of the intestine
in Munich, Germany on February 10, 1923.
Fact 23: Who invented the X-Ray? In 1896 the French physicist Henri
Becquerel (1852 – 1908) was using naturally fluorescent minerals to study the
properties of the newly discovered x-rays and became the first person to
discover evidence of radioactivity by proving that the uranium emitted radiation
without an external source of energy such as the sun. Henri Becquerel had
Fact 24: Who invented the X-Ray? In 1898 Madame Marie Curie and her
husband Pierre Curie, building on the work of Wilhelm Rontgen (X-Ray) and Henri
Becquerel (Radioactivity), discovered radium and polonium. The work and research
of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie would become crucial to the development of
x-rays in surgery. In their research Peter and Marie Curie discovered that
elements, such as radium and polonium - that were radioactive - gave out
strange, unknown rays that seemed to be very similar to the recently discovered
X-ray. Marie Curie went on to invent mobile x-ray machines using radium, as the
source of the, then, mysterious rays
Fact 25: Who invented the X-Ray? At the time no one had any idea that an
x-ray, radioactivity or radium could be dangerous and over exposure to
radioactivity and radium. This exposure eventually resulted in the death of
Marie Curie from leukemia on on July 4, 1934.
Fact 26: Who invented the X-Ray? Scientists then began noticed that
prolonged exposure to x-rays created inflammation and, occasionally, tissue
damage on the skin and special measures were taken to protect both the patient
and doctor. By the early 1920's research into the damaging qualities of the
x-ray led to another important discovery, they were shown to be very powerful in
fighting cancers and skin diseases.
Fact 26: Who invented the X-Ray? The ideas that stemmed from the
discovery of the X-Ray continue to the modern day as scientists continue
research the power that might be held in rays of light which led to the
invention of the Laser in 1960.