Empire of The Scalpel

From Delancey Place:

Physics professor Wilhelm Röntgen made an unexpected discovery when he blasted electrons from one electrode to another:

“In the mid-fall of 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen, a physics professor at Wurzburg, Ger­many, was working in a darkened laboratory with an electron tube — a vacuum glass cylinder that blasted electrons from one electrode to another — when he observed a strange phenomenon. An invisible energy that radiated from the tube had pen­etrated layers of surrounding cardboard and produced a faint green glow on a nearby fluorescent screen. Röntgen experimented with other materials (e.g., paper, rubber, and wood) that he wrapped around the tube but found the X-rays (he termed his discovery ‘X-rays’ because their composition was unknown) passed through all sub­stances except for lead. The emissions also darkened photographic plates and, as an experiment, Röntgen had his wife place her hand between the source of the X-rays and a plate. To their amazement, the bones in her hand were distinctly outlined. The findings were so startling that Röntgen’s report on ‘shadow pictures’ soon appeared in a scientific periodical and, by early 1896, was translated and published in the United States.

More here.