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Somehow Röntgen's electrical device was producing rays that seemed to be impervious to matter, but at last he found something to stop them: lead left a shadow proving that the mystery rays were definitely real.


Earlier that day, as the November dusk darkened the laboratory, he had noticed that whenever he made sparks in the tube, a fluorescent screen at the other end of the laboratory table glowed slightly. This was the signal that he had been looking for, the sign that invisible rays were being produced in the spark tube, crossing the room and striking the screen, producing the faint glimmer. To track the rays he had been putting pieces of card in their way, but the screen continued to glow whether the cards were there or not as if the rays were able to pass clean through them. He then tried to block the rays with metal but thin pieces of copper and aluminium were as transparent as the card had been.

Related Laureate

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1901 - Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen  »    

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