Known For : Discovery of X-rays

Nationality : German

Born : 27th March, 1845 in Lennep, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia, German Confederation

Died : 10th February, 1923 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany at the of 77

Spouse(s) : Anna Bertha Ludwig (m. 1872–1919)

Awards : Matteucci Medal (1896), Elliott Cresson Medal (1897), Rumford Medal (1896), Barnard Medal (1900) , Nobel Prize in Physics (1901)

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was the German physicist and engineer. He was the first to detect electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength, which became known as X-rays. This won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics.

7 interesting facts about Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen :

1. Nobel Prize Award

In 1895, Röntgen through his research discovered what came to be the X-rays or Röntgen rays. This gained him recognition in the field of science and propelled him to win Nobel Prize in Physics. He became the first physicist to win the award.

2. The roentgenium element

In 2004, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry named the element 111 roentgenium. This was to honour Röntgen for his contribution in the field of science. Roentgenium is a radioactive element with unstable isotopes.

3. He Was Expelled from School

Röntgen has his high school education in Utrecht, Netherland. But in 1865, he was expelled from the school for making a caricature of his teacher. This prevented him from having a high school diploma and made it difficult to enrol in University as a normal student. He attended University as a visitor and later left for Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich.

First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife

First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife

4. Academic Career

Röntgen started his professional career as a lecturer at the University of Strassburg in 1874. A year later he left for the Academy of Agriculture at Hohenheim, Wurttemberg as a professor. In 1976 he returned to Strassburg as a professor in physics. He since then held different positions in the academia.

5. Research Career

After many researches with different types of vacuum tubes, this was when he discovered strange rays with he initially called X-rays. Through the experiment, he first saw his ghostly skeleton using a barium platinocyanide screen. He later took the first X-rays picture of his wife’s hand. His discovery won him various awards.

6. Met His Wife in the Cafe

Röntgen was married to Bertha Ludwig from Zurich. The two first met at a café operated by Bertha’s father. The couple had no children but adopted a child, Josephine Bertha Ludwig, a daughter of Bertha’s brother.

7. Bankruptcy

After the World War I, Röntgen went into bankruptcy due to the high inflation at the time. He lost the 2 million Reichsmarks inherited from his dad. His final years was spent in Weinheim, near Munich.