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RÖNTGEN, W. [WILHELM CONRAD].t - [THE DISCOVERY OF X-RAYS - (PMM 380)]

Eine neue Art von Strahlen. (Vorläufige Mittheilung).

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Würzburg, Stahel'schen K. Hof- und Universitätsbuch und Kunsthandlung, Ende 1895. 8vo. In the original printed wrappers. Offprint from "Sitzungsberichten der Würzburger Physik, -Medic. Gesellschaft", but published before the journal-issue. Lower right corner of front wrapper with repair after a 10 cm long tear, no loss of text. "Gratis überreicht / von der Verlagsbuchhandlung" stamped to lower left corner of front wrapper. Light overall soiling to wrappers, internally fine and clean. No title-page, as issued. 10 pp. + 1 blank leaf. ¶ First printing, rare offprint in the original printed wrappers, published before the journal-issue, of Röntgen's landmark discovery of X-rays: "the foundation stones of roentgenology" (Garrison & Morton) and "one of the most important advances in the history of scientific development" (Heirs of Hippocrates). Here, Röntgen unveiled a new form of matter and offered a new revolutionary method for medical diagnosis, being "the greatest advance in diagnostic medicine since the invention of the stethoscope" (Norman), crystallography and radioactivity - "Practically every science was improved by the new technique" (Dibner).
Röntgen's was the first Nobel Prize in physics, given in 1901 "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him."

In order to ensure priority for his discovery, Röntgen first published the paper as an offprint from "Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-medicinischen Gesellschaft zu Würtzburg" in 1895. "Roentgen sent his paper, "Eine neue Art von Strahlen (Vorlaufige Mittheilung)" to the Würzburg Physical-Medical Society for publication in its proceedings. The article appeared in the December 1895 number of the society's journal, although that number probably was not actually published until January 1896." (Norman)
Apart from a second paper on X-rays in March 1896 and a third in 1897, Röntgen wrote no further papers on the subject, leaving the elucidation of the nature of X-rays and application to others.

"Their [X-rays] importance in surgery, medicine and metallurgy is well known. Incomparable the most important aspect of Röntgen's experiments, however, is his discovery of matter in a new form, which has completely revolutionized the study of chemistry and physics. Laue and the Braggs have used X-rays to show us the atomic structure of crystals. Moseley has reconstructed the periodic table of the elements. Becquerel was directly inspired by Röntgen's results to the investigation that discovered radio-activity. Finally J. J. Thomson enunciated the electron theory as a result of investigating the nature of the X-rays." (DSB).

"On Friday, 8 November 1895, Röntgen first suspected the existence of a new phenomenon when he observed that crystals of barium platinocyanide fluoresced at some distance from a Crookes tube with which he was experimenting. Hertz and Lenard had published on the penetrating powers of cathode rays (electrons), and Röntgen thought that there were unsolved problems worth investigation. He found time to begin his repetition of their experiments in October 1895. Although others had operated Crookes tubes in laboratories for over thirty years, it was Röntgen who found that X rays are emitted by the part of the glass wall of the tube that is opposite the cathode and that receives the beam of cathode rays. He soon discovered the penetrating properties of the rays, and was able to produce photographs of balance-weights in a closed box, the chamber of a shotgun, and a piece of nonhomogeneous metal. The apparent magical nature of the new rays was something of a shock even to Röntgen, and he, naturally, wished to be absolutely sure of the repeatability of the effects before publishing.
The first communication on the rays, on 28 December, was to the editors of the Physical and Medical Society of Würzburg, and by 1 January 1896 Röntgen was able to send reprints and, in some cases, photographs to his friends and colleagues. Emil Warburg displayed some of the photographs at a meeting of the Berlin Physical Society on 4 January. The Wiener Presse carried the story of the discovery on 5 January, and on the following day the news broke around the world. The world's response was remarkably swift, both the general public and the scientific community reacting in their characteristic ways. For the former, the apparent magic caught the imagination, and for the latter, Crookes tubes and generators were promptly sold in great numbers.
After a royal summons, Röntgen demonstrated the effects of X rays to the Kaiser and the court on 13 January. He was immediately awarded the Prussian Order of the Crown, Second Class.
In March 1896, a second paper on X rays was published, and there followed a third in 1897, after which Röntgen returned to the study of the physics of solids. " (DSB)

"Aside from its obvious applications, Roentgen's discovery galvanized the world of physics and led to a rash of further discoveries that so completely overturned the old concepts of the science, that the discovery of X-rays is sometimes considered the first stroke of the Second Scientific Revolution. (The First Scientific Revolution is, of course that which included Galileo and his experiments on falling bodies). Within a matter of months, investigations of X rays led to the discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel. The importance of the discovery was well recognized in its own time. In 1896 Roentgen shared the Rumford Medal with Lenard and in 1901, when Nobel Prizes were set up.the first to be honoured with a Nobel Prize in Physics was Roentgen." (Asimov).

"Their importance in surgery, medicine and metallurgy is well known. Incomparably the most important aspect of Röntgen's experiments, however, is his discovery of matter in a new form, which has completely revolutionized the study of chemistry and physics. Laue and the Braggs (406) have used the X-rays to show us the atomic structure of crystals. Mosely (407) has reconstructed the periodic table of the elements. Becquerel (393) was directly inspired by Röntgen's results to the investigation that discovered radio-activity. Finally J. J. Thomson (386) enunciated the electron theory as a result of investigating the nature of X-rays." (PMM).

PMM: 380
Garrison & Morton: 2683
Norman: 83
Dibner: 162
Heirs of Hippocrates: 1085
Horblit: 90
Barchas: 1812

84 666 SEK

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