Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen

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Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (27 March 1845 – 10 February 1923) was a German physicist, who, on 8 November 1895, produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range today known as X-rays or Röntgen rays, an achievement that earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.[1]:1

Following transliteration conventions for characters accented by an umlaut, "Röntgen" in English is spelled "Roentgen", and that is the usual rendering found in English-language scientific and medical references.



Röntgen was born in Lennep (which is today a borough of Remscheid) in Rhenish Prussia as the only child of a merchant and manufacturer of cloth. His mother was Charlotte Constanze Frowein of Amsterdam. In March 1848, the family moved to Apeldoorn and Wilhelm was raised in the Netherlands. He received his early education at the boarding school, Institute of Martinus Herman van Doorn, in Apeldoorn. From 1861 to 1863, he attended the ambachtsschool in Utrecht. He was expelled for refusing to reveal the identity of a classmate guilty of drawing an unflattering portrait of one of the school's teachers. Not only was he expelled, he subsequently found that he could not gain admittance into any other Dutch or German gymnasium.[2]

In 1865, he tried to attend the University of Utrecht without having the necessary credentials required for a regular student. Upon hearing that he could enter the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich (today known as the ETH Zurich), he passed its examinations, and began studies there as a student of mechanical engineering. In 1869, he graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich; once there, he became a favorite student of Professor August Kundt, whom he followed to the University of Strassburg in 1873.[3]

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