Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was the first scientist to observe and record
X-rays, first finding them on November 8, 1895. He had been fiddling with
a set of cathode ray instruments and was surprised to find a flickering image
cast by his instruments separated from them by some distance. He knew that
the image he saw was not being cast by the cathode rays (now known as beams of
electrons) as they could not penetrate air for any significant distance. After
some considerable investigation, he named the new rays "X" to
indicate they were unknown.
The discovery of X-rays, as well as their unique properties, electrified
the general public. Röntgen became a celebrity almost overnight, and
several of his colleagues (against his objections) tried to rename the new
form of radiation "Röntgen Rays".
Credit: Public Domain