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The response to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen's discovery in Berlin



The response to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen's discovery in Berlin



Sudhoffs Archiv 79(1): 1-21



In early January 1896 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen sent offprints to several colleagues of his to make them acquainted with his discovery of the X-rays. From January 5, 1896 newspapers started reporting on that discovery worldwide from Vienna. In several cities the news immediately set off corresponding scientific activities among specialists. This paper looks into such activities carried out in Berlin to show how promptly Röntgen's discovery was taken up, with a number of priorities having been set in the capital of the German Reich. The X-ray photographs which Röntgen had forwarded together with his offprints were displayed and discussed at a meeting of the Berlin Physical Society as early as on January 4, 1896, making his discovery known to the public for the first time. On January 6, 1896 the discovery and photographs were presented at a session of the Berlin Association of Internal Medicine and its diagnostic application was discussed in the medical community for the first time. A few days after that, the first photographs shot by other authors after Röntgen, and their diagnostic use, were demonstrated in Berlin. Finally, Röntgen's early visit to Emperor William II on January 12, 1896, which led to the speedy introduction of the X-day technique into German military medicine, is discussed in detail.

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