© 2019

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen

The Birth of Radiology


  • Combines information on Röntgen’s personal life and contacts to peers with discussion of the technical developments relevant to the birth of radiology

  • Explores the hitherto neglected formative years of Röntgen

  • Elucidates the vast influence of X-rays on a broad field of scientific research


Part of the Springer Biographies book series (SPRINGERBIOGS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 1-11
  3. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 13-31
  4. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 33-61
  5. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 63-78
  6. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 79-113
  7. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 115-138
  8. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 139-151
  9. Gerd Rosenbusch, Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
    Pages 153-170
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 171-203

About this book


This book, which will appeal to all with an interest in the history of radiology and physics, casts new light on the life and career of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, showing how his personality was shaped by his youth in the Netherlands and his teachers in Switzerland. Beyond this, it explores the technical developments relevant to the birth of radiology in the late nineteenth century and examines the impact of the discovery of X-rays on a broad range of scientific research.

Röntgen (1845-1923) was born in Lennep, Germany, but emigrated with his family to the Netherlands in 1848. As a 17-year-old he moved to Utrecht, entering theTechnical School and living at the home of Dr. Jan Willem Gunning. In this well-educated family he was stimulated to continue his studies at university. In 1868 he received a diploma from the Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich and just a year later completed a PhD in physics. He followed his mentor, August Kundt, to the universities of Würzburg (1870) and Strasburg (1872) and married Anna Ludwig in 1872. In 1879 Röntgen gained his first professorship at a German university, in Giessen, followed by a chair in Würzburg in 1888. Here he discovered X-rays in 1895, for which he received the first Nobel Prize in physics in 1901. From 1900 until his retirement in 1921 he occupied the chair of physics at the Munich University.


X-Rays Nobel Prize Polytechnical School Utrecht Family of J.W. Gunning Education Physics A. Kundt

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.NijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.MaldenThe Netherlands

About the authors

Gerd Rosenbusch, MD, is Emeritus Professor of Abdominal Radiology. He was born in 1934 in Stadtsteinach, a small town in Northern Bavaria, Germany. He received his training in radiology at the hospital of RWTH Aachen, Germany. After completing his specialization, he worked for a short period in a private practice and then moved in 1971 to Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He was appointed Professor in Radiology in 1980 and retired in 1996. His interest in the history of radiology started many years before his retirement. Besides authoring publications on radiology, to be named is Kolon. Klinische Radiologie-Endoskopie (together with J.W.A.J. Reeders), he has been coeditor of several books on the history of radiology, especially in the Netherlands.

Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen, PhD, was born in 1945 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She studied biology in her hometown university and in 1984 received a doctorate in the history of medicine for her thesis Towards a rational infant feeding. The science of nutrition and paediatrics in the Netherlands 1840–1914. From 1991 to 1998 she taught history of medicine at the Free University of Amsterdam. Until 2007 she managed the international consultancy and training activities of Cito, Institute for Educational Measurement in Arnhem, the Netherlands. She has written over a hundred articles and several books on the history of medicine, including a history of radiology in the Netherlands.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen
  • Book Subtitle The Birth of Radiology
  • Authors Gerd Rosenbusch
    Annemarie de Knecht-van Eekelen
  • Series Title Springer Biographies
  • Series Abbreviated Title Springer Biographies
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Medicine Medicine (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-97660-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-97661-7
  • Series ISSN 2365-0613
  • Series E-ISSN 2365-0621
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 203
  • Number of Illustrations 40 b/w illustrations, 31 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Imaging / Radiology
    History of Medicine
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals


“This edition is beautifully produced, with a pleasing layout, nice illustrations and tables and is a delight to read. The authors should be congratulated for their efforts and I am sure the book will appeal to a wide readership and not just those professionally connected with Röntgen’s legacy.” (Arpan K Banerjee, RAD Magazine, November, 2019)

“This book will interest any readers interested in the history of medicine, physics, and twentieth‐century science. It is not intended for any specific audience and it can be read by anyone, as the writing is clear, simple, fluid, and pleasant. … The authors have made a careful search for relevant documentation and offer the results of their research in an extremely readable way.” (Alain Touwaide, Doody's Book Reviews, July 05, 2019)