Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen biography - Студенческий научный форум

XII Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2020

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen biography

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The great scientist was the only child in the family. His father was a merchant and made clothes. Her mother was a native of Amsterdam. In 1848 the family moved to the Netherlands. Roentgen Wilhelm received his first education at The Martinus F. Dorn school. In 1861 he began his studies at the Utrecht Technical school. However, after 2 years, he was expelled because of the refusal to issue a student who drew a caricature of the teacher. In 1865 Wilhelm tried to enter the University of Utrecht. According to the rules, however, he could not enroll. After that, Wilhelm passed the exams at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute. Here he entered the Department of mechanical engineering. In 1869 Roentgen, having received the degree of doctor of philosophy, graduated from the educational institution. Science was the only thing Wilhelm Roentgen wanted to do. The biography of a scientist is an example of how persistent a person can be who strives to achieve his goals.

Teaching activity

Having successfully defended his thesis, Roentgen Wilhelm became an assistant at the University in Zurich and later in Giessen. From 1871 to 1873 he worked in Wurzburg. After a while together with August Adolf (his Professor) transferred to the University of Strasbourg. Here Roentgen worked for five years as a lecturer. In 1876 he became a Professor. In 1879 he was appointed to the Department of physics at the University of Giessen. He later became its leader. In 1888 Wilhelm headed the Department of the University of Wurzburg. In 1894 he became rector. The last place of work was the Department of physics of the University of Munich. Having reached the age stipulated in the rules, he handed over the leadership to V. Vinu. However, he continued to work at the Department until the end of his life. The great physicist Wilhelm Roentgen died in 1923, on February 10, from cancer. He was buried in Giessen.

Wilhelm Roentgen and his discovery

At the beginning of 1896, reports of the sensational work of a Professor at the University of Wurzburg swept over America and Europe. Almost all the Newspapers appeared a picture of the hand, which, as it turned out, belonged to the wife of the scientist Bertha Roentgen. Wilhelm, meanwhile, shut himself up in the laboratory and continued to study the rays. His work gave impetus to new research. All scientists of the world unequivocally recognize the huge contribution that Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen made to science. His discovery earned him a reputation as a"subtle classical experimenter."

The discovery of the phenomenon

After his appointment as rector of Roentgen, Wilhelm began experimental studies of electric discharge in vacuum glass tubes. In early November 1895, he worked in a laboratory and studied cathode rays. Toward midnight, feeling tired, x-Ray was about to leave. He glanced around the room, turned off the light, and was about to close the door when he saw a patch of light in the darkness. It was the light from a screen of barium cyanide. The scientist wondered how it happened. The electric light did not give such a glow, the sun had long since set, the cathode tube was turned off, moreover, covered with a cardboard black cover. The scientist thought. He looked at the receiver again. It turned out to be on. He fumbled for the switch and turned it off. The glow faded. X-ray turned on the switch. A glow appeared. So he established that the radiation comes from the tube. It was unclear how it became visible. The pipe was covered. Discovered phenomenon X-ray Wilhelm called X-rays. Leaving the cardboard case on the tube, he began to move around the laboratory. It turned out that 1.5 - 2 meters for the detected radiation is not a barrier. It easily penetrates through alcohol, glass, book. When the hand of the researcher was in the path of radiation, he saw the outline of the bones of his hand. X-ray rushed to the Cabinet of photographic plates. He wanted to fix what he saw in the picture. In the course of further studies, the x-Ray discovers that the radiation illuminates the plate, it does not diverge spherically, but has a certain direction. Only in the morning the scientist returned home. The next 50 days were hard work. He could have made his discovery public at once. However, the scientist believed that a message containing information about the nature of radiation would make a greater impression. So he wanted to study the properties of rays first.

Publication of the experiment

On New year's eve, December 28, 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen informed his colleagues of the phenomenon he had discovered. On 30 pages he described the phenomenon, printed the text in the form of a brochure and sent to leading European scientists. In the first message, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen wrote: "Fluorescence is visible with sufficient dimming. It does not depend on which side to bring the paper – with or without platinum-sinergistom barium. Fluorescence is observed at a distance of 2 meters from the tube." X-rays suggested the glow was caused by X-rays. They pass through materials impervious to ordinary light. In this regard, he primarily studied the absorption capacity of substances. The scientist found that all materials are permeable to X-rays, but with different degrees. They could pass through a book with a thousand pages, spruce boards 2-3 cm thick, 15 mm aluminum plate. The latter significantly weakened the glow, but did not completely destroy it.

The complexity of the study

The x-ray could not detect the reflection or refraction of the rays. But he found that, if there is no correct reflection, yet different materials with respect to the glow behave similarly to turbid environments that react to light. The scientist, thus, was able to determine the fact of scattering of rays by matter. But all attempts to detect interference gave a negative result. Similarly, the case with the study of radiation deflection by a magnetic field. According to the results, the scientist concluded that the glow is not identical to the cathode. But at the same time the radiation is excited by it in the glass walls of the tube.

Description of the properties

As part of the study, one of the key questions posed by x-Rays concerned the nature of the new rays. In the course of experiments, he found that they are not cathodic. Given their intense chemical effects and glow, the scientist suggested that it is a kind of ultraviolet light. But in this case, there are some uncertainties. In particular, if X-rays are ultraviolet light, they must have a number of properties: Not polarized. In the transition to water, aluminum, carbon disulfide, rock salt, zinc, glass and other materials from the air does not experience a noticeable refraction. Not to have any appreciable reflection from these bodies. in Addition, their absorption should not depend on any properties of the material, except its density. Based on the results of the studies, therefore, it was necessary to accept that these UV rays behave somewhat differently than the already known infrared and ultraviolet. But the scientist could not do this and continued to search for an explanation.

Second message

It was published in 1896 in the described x-ray studies of ionizing radiation exposure and the initiation of its different bodies. The scientist stated that there was not a single solid substance in which this glow did not occur. In the course of research, x-Ray changed the design of the tube. He used a concave aluminum mirror as the cathode. In the center of its curvature at an angle of 45 degrees to the axis was placed a platinum plate. It acted as an anode. X-rays were coming out of it. For their intensity, it is not so important whether the excitation site is an anode or not. As a result, x-Rays established the main design features of the new tubes.

Public reaction

The discovery of x-Rays caused resonance not only in the scientific field. His article was interested in different countries. In Vienna, Exper reported on the discovery of rays in the "New free press", in St. Petersburg, X-ray experiments were repeated at a lecture on physics. X-rays quickly found their application in practice. They were especially in demand in technical areas and medicine.

The personal life of a scientist

In 1872 the x-ray married to Anna Bertha Ludwig. She was the daughter of the landlord. The future spouses met in Zurich. The couple had no children of their own. In 1881, the couple adopted the daughter of Bertha's brother Josephine. Roentgen's wife died in 1919. After the end of the First world war, the scientist was left all alone.


X-ray was modest and honest. Proof of this is his renunciation of the title of nobility, granted to him by the Prince Regent of Bavaria for his achievements in scientific activity. However, Roentgen accepted the Nobel prize. But to come to the ceremony refused, citing employment. It is worth saying that the x-Ray award was the first in the history of its award for achievements in the field of physics. It was mailed to him. During the war, the German government appealed to the population for financial assistance. People gave their money and valuables. Wilhelm Roentgen was no exception. The Nobel prize was among his valuables given voluntarily to the government.


One of the first monuments to x-Ray was a cement bust, installed at the end of January 1920 in Petrograd. The permanent bronze monument appeared in 1928, on February 17. The monument is installed in front of the Central research Institute of x-ray and radiological Institute, which is currently the Department of radiology at the St. Petersburg state medical University. AK. I. P. Pavlova. After the death of the scientist in 1923, his name was given to Petrograd street. In honor of the physicist, a chemical element is named, the serial number of which is 111. Its name is given to the unit of exposure dose of ionizing photon radiation. In 1964, a crater on the reverse side of the earth's satellite was named in honor of the scientist. In many languages, in particular German, Russian, Finnish, Danish, Dutch, Serbian, Hungarian, etc., radiation, which was discovered by a physicist, is called x-ray or simply x-ray. The names of scientific methods and disciplines in which it is used are also derived from the name of the scientist. For example, there is radiology, radiography, x-ray astronomy, etc.


Undoubtedly, Wilhelm Roentgen made a huge contribution to the development of physics as a science. His passion for research made him the most famous man of his era. Its discovery after so many years continues to serve the good of mankind. All his activity, all his energies were directed to research, experiments, experiments. Thanks to its achievement medicine and technological disciplines have stepped far forward

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