The Discovery of X-rays; November 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Farmelo; 6 Page(s)
The maid had to be dispatched several times to call him from his laboratory. When Wilhelm Conrad R. ntgen, the head of the physics department at the University of Wurzburg, finally joined his wife at the dinner table, he was distracted, eating little and saying less. No sooner had they finished their meal than he returned to his work. It was November 8, 1895. For several months, R.ntgen had been investigating the behavior of cathode rays, later identified by other scientists as electrons.
He knew that these rays, copiously produced in a special evacuated tube charged with high-voltage electricity, penetrated only a few centimeters of air. And so he was astonished on that Friday evening before dinner to see a flickering image so far away from the tube that it could not have been caused by the cathode rays, but it appeared only when they were present.