Roentgen's discovery of X-rays "heralded the age of modern physics and revolutionized diagnostic medicine" (Britannica)
“Their importance in surgery, medicine, and metallurgy is well known. Incomparably the most important part of Rontgen’s experiments, however, is his discovery of matter in a new form, which has completely revolutionized the study of chemistry and physics” (Printing and the Mind of Man, 380).
First complete edition of Rontgen’s announcement of the discovery of the X-Ray.
"Hertz and Lenard had published on the penetrating powers of cathode rays (electrons) and Rontgen thought that there were unsolved problems worth investigation... As a preliminary to viewing the cathode rays on a fluorescent screen, Rontgen completely covered his discharge tube with a black card, and then chanced to notice that such a screen lying on a bench some distance away was glowing brightly. Although others had operated Crookes tubes in laboratories for over thirty years, it was Rontgen 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 spent six weeks in absolute concentration, repeating and extending his observations on the properties of the new rays. He found that they travel in straight lines, cannot be refracted or reflected, are not deviated by a magnet, and can travel about two meters in air. He soon discovered the penetrating properties of the rays... The apparent magical nature of the new rays was something of a shock even to Rontgen... On 22 December he brought his wife into the laboratory and made an X-ray photograph of her hand. It was no doubt the possibility of seeing living skeletons, thus pandering to man's morbid curiosity, that contributed to the peculiarly rapid worldwide dissemination of the discovery."
In 1901 Rontgen won the first Nobel Prize awarded in physics “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him."
“About a new kind of rays” was published originally in separate issues of the rare journal Sitzungsberichte der Wurzberger Physik-medic (1895, 1896) before being published, together with “Further Observations”, in Annalen der Physik in 1898.
“Ueber eine neue Art von Strahlen” [ “About a new kind of rays” ], parts I and II. WITH: “Weitere Beobachtungen uber die Eigenschaften der X-Strahlen” [“Further observations about the properties of X-rays” ], pp.1-37 in Annalen der Physik, Neue Folge, Vol. 64. Leipzig: Barth-Verlag, 1898. (The full volume, 812 pages). Octavo, contemporary three-quarter cloth over marbled boards. Some wear to contemporary binding, otherwise fine.
Price: $2,400 .