When Anna Bertha Ludwig saw an image of the bones in her hand she exclaimed ‘I have seen my death!’ – quite a reaction to the first human X-ray. Just a few weeks earlier her husband Wilhelm Röntgen had discovered a new kind of radiation, and he called it ‘X-radiation’, the ‘X’ for ‘unknown’. He noticed that his new radiation passed through opaque materials and affected photographic plates, and soon demonstrated the medical potential of his discovery. Röntgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901 and just over a century later the synthetic element roentgenium, 111, was named for him.

First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig’s hand, 1895

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: