Wilhelm Röntgen (1845–1923,) fully Wilhelm Konrad von Röntgen, was a German experimental physicist. He produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range today known as X-rays or Röntgen rays. This achievement earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
Born in Lennep, Prussia (now Remscheid, Germany,) Röntgen studied mechanical engineering at Zurich, and after teaching at Strassburg University, he was appointed professor of physics successively at the universities of Giessen (1879,) Wurzburg (1888,) and Munich (1899–1919.)
At Wiirzburg in 1895, Röntgen discovered the electromagnetic rays, which he called X-rays—so called because of their unknown properties. He took the first X-ray photographs, of the interiors of metal objects and of the bones in his wife’s hand.
The discovery of X-rays heralded the age of modern physics and revolutionized diagnostic medicine. For his work, Röntgen was awarded the Rumford Medal in 1896 and the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
Röntgen also achieved important results on the heat conductivity of crystals, the specific heat of gases and the magnetic effects produced in dielectrics.