|Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (March 27, 1845 in Lennep, today a part of Remscheid, Germany) – February 10, 1923) was a German physicist, of the University of Wuerzburg, who, on November 8, 1895, produced wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that are now known as x-rays or Roentgen Rays. The machine which Röntgen built to emit these rays, was the x-ray machine. Roentgen's name is usually given as Roentgen in English; therefore most scientific and medical references to him are found under this spelling.|
During 1895 Roentgen was using equipment developed by his colleagues Hertz, Hifforf, Crookes, and Lenard to explore the effects of high tension electrical discharges in evacuated glass tubes. By late 1895 these investigators were beginning to explore the properties of cathode rays outside the tubes In early November Roentgen was repeating an experiment with one of Lenard's tubes in which a thin aluminium window had been added to permit the cathode rays to exit the tube but a cardboard covering was added to protect the aluminium from damage by the strong electrostatic field that is necessary to produce the cathode rays. He knew the cardboard covering prevented light from escaping, yet Röntgen observed that the invisible cathode rays caused a fluorescent effect on a small cardboard screen painted with barium platinocyanide when it was placed close to the aluminium window. It occurred to Röntgen that the Hifforf-Crookes tube, which had a much thicker glass wall than the Lenard tube, might also cause this fluorescent effect.
In 1901 Roentgen was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics. The award was officially, "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him". Roentgen donated the monetary reward from the prize to his university.