Today in World History: November 8th

German Physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the x-ray on this day in 1895. Born in Remscheid in 1845, he studied in the top universities of the time, moving to Switzerland to study at Zurich University, getting a PhD before moving to Strasbourg. He began experimenting with electrical charges, discovering a unique light that he dubbed an x-ray, representing the unknown value. He continued experimenting with the light and its properties, and two weeks later took the first x-ray of a human being, on his wife’s hand. His invention spread throughout the world, praised for its usefulness in the medical and scientific fields, and is still used today. Röntgen’s work earned him the world’s first Nobel Prize in physics. Part of the reason for the x-ray’s spread as a tool is due to Röntgen never taking out a patent for his inventions, even donating the money he received from the Nobel Prize. In his later years Röntgen moved to Munich, losing most of his money after World War One, before dying on February 10, 1923, of cancer in his intestine.

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