Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Table of Contents
Wilhelm Roentgen was a German physicist who discovered the X-ray. His discovery reformed not only physics, but also the field of diagnostic medicine.
See the fact file below for more information on the Wilhelm Roentgen or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Wilhelm Roentgen worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (also spelled as Röntgen) was born at Lennep, Germany on March 27, 1845. His father was a manufacturer and merchant of cloth.
- Wilhelm’s family moved to Apeldoorn, Netherlands when he was three. He later on studied at the Institute of Martinus Herman van Doorn.
- In 1861, he enrolled at the Utrecht Technical School, but was expelled for accusations of doing a prank that another student did.
- Roentgen was skillful in building mechanical objects, despite not being particularly good in schoolwork.
- In 1865, he began studying physics at the University of Utrecht. But because he wasn’t able to get a high school diploma due to his expulsion, he couldn’t get the required credentials for him to be a regular student.
- Upon learning that he could enroll in the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich, he took and passed the examination and became a mechanical engineering student.
- He sat through lectures by Rudolf Clausius and worked in August Kundt’s laboratory, who became fond of him.
- Wilhelm earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1869 from Zurich University.
- He traveled to Würzburg after his graduation, being appointed as Professor Kundt’s assistant. They then went to the University of Strasbourg after three years.
- In 1866, he met Anna Bertha Ludwig at her father’s café in Zürich. Three years later, they got engaged and, on July 7, 1872, they got married in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. In 1887, they adopted Josephine Bertha Ludwig, the child of Anna’s only brother.
- In 1874, he became a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg. He then became a professor at the Academy of Agriculture at Hohenheim, Württemberg in 1875. He returned to Strasbourg in 1876 as a Professor of Physics.
- In 1879, he accepted the position as Chair of Physics at the University of Giessen. He gained the same position at the University of Würzburg in 1888 and by the special request of the Bavarian Government for the University of Munich in 1900.
- He also accepted an invitation to New York’s Columbia University, but he changed his plans because of World War I and decided to stay in Munich for the rest of his career.
WORKS AND DISCOVERY OF X-RAYS
- In 1870, Roentgen published his first work that discussed the specific heat of gases. A few years later, he released a paper about the thermal conductivity of crystals.
- He also conducted research about the relationship of pressure and the refractive indices of various fluids; the electrical and other properties of quartz; the differences in the functions of the temperature and the compressibility of water and other fluids; the spreading of oil drops on water and the phenomena that accompanies it; and the changes in the planes of polarized light caused by electromagnetic variations.
- In 1895, he started investigating the external effects that different vacuum discharge tubes produce when electricity is passed through them.
- He noticed that a Lenard tube produced a fluorescent effect on a small cardboard that he placed near the window of the tube. He connected a Hittorf-Crookes tube to a Ruhmkorff coil hoping to see the same effect as the Lenard tube.
- On November 8, 1895, he placed a Hittorf-Crookes tube in a sealed thick black carton to exclude all light and worked in a dark room.
- When he passed electricity on the tube, a paper plate coated with barium platinocyanide placed in the path of the rays became fluorescent.
- He also studied the ability of varying materials to block the rays and noted that objects of varying thickness appear with different transparency on a photographic plate. At this point, he decided to place a small piece of lead in the way of the rays, seeing his own ghostly skeleton on the plate. After seeing this image, he decided to conduct further experiments in secrecy.
- During one of his experiments, he placed his wife’s hand over a photographic plate, intercepting the rays. He developed the plate which showed his wife’s hand as shadows thrown by her bones and a ring she was wearing. Her flesh was also shown as fainter shadow, because the flesh was more permeable to the rays.
- Roentgen conducted further experiments and found out that the new rays he discovered are produced when cathode rays impact a material object.
- He called these as X-rays, because although he knew they existed, their nature and origin was still unknown.
- On December 28, 1895 he published his findings in his article, “On A New Kind Of Rays”. At a public lecture, he demonstrated his findings by taking a better picture of a hand, this time, of his friend Albert von Kölliker.
- Between 1895 and 1897, he was able to publish three papers about X-rays.
- Roentgen did not patent his discovery of X-rays, believing that it should be available, without charge, for public use.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of X-rays earned him an honorary medical degree from the University of Würzburg. X-rays were almost immediately applied to all sorts of medical imaging after his revelation. In many languages, X-rays are called Roentgen rays and the associated radiograms are called Röntgenograms.
- Among the honors he received are the following:
- Rumford Medal in 1896
- Matteucci Medal in 1896
- Elliott Cresson Medal in 1897
- Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science in 1900.
- On December 10, 1901, he was given the Nobel Prize for Physics, the first ever to be given. The award was officially given “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him”.
- The money he received along with his Nobel prize was donated to research at the University of Würzburg.
- In 1907, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences elected him as a foreign member.
- He spent his final years at Weilheim, near Munich. He died due to colorectal cancer, also known as carcinoma of the intestine, on February 10, 1923.
- All his scientific and personal correspondence was destroyed when he died, following his will. Despite this, the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland and holds a collection of the papers he published.
- In November 2004, IUPAC named element 111 after Roentgen.
- The Deutsches Röntgen-Museum was erected 40 kilometers away from the town where he was born, in Remscheid-Lennep.
- A non-profit organization presently maintains his laboratory in Würzburg where he discovered the X-ray. The group also provides tours to the Röntgen Memorial Site.
- In 2012, a joint initiative of the European Society of Radiology, the Radiological Society of North America, and the American College of Radiology introduced the World Radiology Day. It is celebrated annually on November 8 and promotes the role and importance of medical imaging in modern healthcare.
Wilhelm Roentgen Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Wilhelm Roentgen across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Wilhelm Roentgen worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Wilhelm Roentgen who was a German physicist who discovered the X-ray. His discovery reformed not only physics, but also the field of diagnostic medicine.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- X-ray Man’s Profile
- Elemental Spotlight
- Charged Words
- Path to Röntgen Rays
- Ready, Set, X-ray!
- Seeing Rays
- Surely Roentgen
- Hot Seat
- Medical Rays
- Rising Up
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Wilhelm Roentgen Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.