Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index R > Wilhelm Röntgen Quotes

Thumbnail of Wilhelm Röntgen
Wilhelm Röntgen
(27 Mar 1845 - 10 Feb 1923)

German physicist.

Science Quotes by Wilhelm Röntgen (2 quotes)

I was working with a Crookes tube covered by a shield of black cardboard. A piece of barium platino-cyanide paper lay on the bench there. I had been passing a current through the tube, and I noticed a peculiar black line across the paper. …
The effect was one which could only be produced in ordinary parlance by the passage of light. No light could come from the tube because the shield which covered it was impervious to any light known even that of the electric arc. …
I did not think; I investigated. …
I assumed that the effect must have come from the tube since its character indicated that it could come from nowhere else. … It seemed at first a new kind of invisible light. It was clearly something new something unrecorded. …
There is much to do, and I am busy, very busy. [Describing to a journalist the discovery of X-rays that he had made on 8 Nov 1895.]
— Wilhelm Röntgen
In H.J.W. Dam in 'The New Marvel in Photography", McClure's Magazine (Apr 1896), 4:5, 413.
Science quotes on:  |  Arc (8)  |  Busy (28)  |  Current (54)  |  Discovery (680)  |  Experiment (602)  |  Impervious (5)  |  Investigate (65)  |  Light (347)  |  Photograph (19)  |  Ray (41)  |  Shield (4)  |  Test (125)  |  Thinking (231)  |  X-ray (19)

Wilhelm Röntgen quote: If the hand be held between the discharge-tube and the screen, the darker shadow of the bones is seen wit
If the hand be held between the discharge-tube and the screen, the darker shadow of the bones is seen within the slightly dark shadow-image of the hand itself… For brevity’s sake I shall use the expression “rays”; and to distinguish them from others of this name I shall call them “X-rays”.
— Wilhelm Röntgen
From 'On a New Kind of Rays' (1895). In Herbert S. Klickstein, Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen: On a New Kind of Rays, A Bibliographic Study (1966), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Brevity (7)  |  Distinguishing (14)  |  Expression (110)  |  Hand (142)  |  Image (59)  |  Name (170)  |  Nomenclature (138)  |  Screen (7)  |  Shadow (52)  |  X-ray (19)

Quotes by others about Wilhelm Röntgen (6)

Since the stomach gives no obvious external sign of its workings, investigators of gastric movements have hitherto been obliged to confine their studies to pathological subjects or to animals subjected to serious operative interference. Observations made under these necessarily abnormal conditions have yielded a literature which is full of conflicting statements and uncertain results. The only sure conclusion to be drawn from this material is that when the stomach receives food, obscure peristaltic contractions are set going, which in some way churn the food to a liquid chyme and force it into the intestines. How imperfectly this describes the real workings of the stomach will appear from the following account of the actions of the organ studied by a new method. The mixing of a small quantity of subnitrate of bismuth with the food allows not only the contractions of the gastric wall, but also the movements of the gastric contents to be seen with the Röntgen rays in the uninjured animal during normal digestion.
In 'The Movements of the Stomach Studied by Means of the Röntgen Rays,' American Journal of Physiology (1898), 1, 359-360.
Science quotes on:  |  Bismuth (6)  |  Digestion (24)  |  X-ray (19)

Great discoveries are made accidentally less often than the populace likes to think.
Referring to the accidental discovery of X-rays, in A History of Science and Its Relations with Philosophy and Religion (1931), 382.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (680)  |  X-ray (19)

I will insist particularly upon the following fact, which seems to me quite important and beyond the phenomena which one could expect to observe: The same [double sulfate of uranium and potassium] crystalline crusts, arranged the same way [as reported to the French academy on 24 Feb 1896] with respect to the photographic plates, in the same conditions and through the same screens, but sheltered from the excitation of incident rays and kept in darkness, still produce the same photographic images … [when kept from 26 Feb 1896] in the darkness of a bureau drawer. … I developed the photographic plates on the 1st of March, expecting to find the images very weak. Instead the silhouettes appeared with great intensity.
It is important to observe that it appears this phenomenon must not be attributed to the luminous radiation emitted by phosphorescence … One hypothesis which presents itself to the mind naturally enough would be to suppose that these rays, whose effects have a great similarity to the effects produced by the rays studied by M. Lenard and M. Röntgen, are invisible rays …
[Having eliminated phosphorescence as a cause, he has further revealed the effect of the as yet unknown radioactivity.]
Read at French Academy of Science (2 Mar 1896). In Comptes Rendus (1896), 122, 501. As translated by Carmen Giunta on the Classic Chemistry web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (680)  |  Effect (166)  |  Hypothesis (252)  |  Invisible (38)  |  Phenomenon (278)  |  Phosphorescence (2)  |  Photograph (19)  |  Potassium (11)  |  Radioactivity (28)  |  Ray (41)  |  Uranium (17)

After the discovery of spectral analysis no one trained in physics could doubt the problem of the atom would be solved when physicists had learned to understand the language of spectra. So manifold was the enormous amount of material that has been accumulated in sixty years of spectroscopic research that it seemed at first beyond the possibility of disentanglement. An almost greater enlightenment has resulted from the seven years of Röntgen spectroscopy, inasmuch as it has attacked the problem of the atom at its very root, and illuminates the interior. What we are nowadays hearing of the language of spectra is a true 'music of the spheres' in order and harmony that becomes ever more perfect in spite of the manifold variety. The theory of spectral lines will bear the name of Bohr for all time. But yet another name will be permanently associated with it, that of Planck. All integral laws of spectral lines and of atomic theory spring originally from the quantum theory. It is the mysterious organon on which Nature plays her music of the spectra, and according to the rhythm of which she regulates the structure of the atoms and nuclei.
Atombau und Spektrallinien (1919), viii, Atomic Structure and Spectral Lines, trans. Henry L. Brose (1923), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (280)  |  Atomic Theory (13)  |  Niels Bohr (53)  |  Discovery (680)  |  Harmony (72)  |  Integral (15)  |  Interior (19)  |  Language (228)  |  Music Of The Spheres (3)  |  Mystery (153)  |  Nature (1223)  |  Nucleus (33)  |  Order (242)  |  Perfection (89)  |  Max Planck (64)  |  Problem (497)  |  Quantum Theory (57)  |  Regulation (20)  |  Research (590)  |  Rhythm (18)  |  Solution (216)  |  Spectral Analysis (3)  |  Spectral Line (3)  |  Spectroscopy (11)  |  Spectrum (24)  |  Structure (225)  |  Theory (696)  |  Understanding (325)  |  Variety (71)

For the birth of something new, there has to be a happening. Newton saw an apple fall; James Watt watched a kettle boil; Roentgen fogged some photographic plates. And these people knew enough to translate ordinary happenings into something new...
Quoted by André Maurois, The Life of Sir Alexander Fleming, trans. by Gerard Hopkins (1959), 167. Cited in Steven Otfinoski, Alexander Fleming: Conquering Disease with Penicillin (1993), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Apple (35)  |  Birth (93)  |  Boiling (3)  |  Fog (8)  |  Happening (32)  |  Kettle (2)  |  New (496)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Ordinary (73)  |  Photograph (19)  |  Plate (6)  |  Translation (15)  |  Watching (10)  |  James Watt (11)

Every teacher certainly should know something of non-euclidean geometry. Thus, it forms one of the few parts of mathematics which, at least in scattered catch-words, is talked about in wide circles, so that any teacher may be asked about it at any moment. … Imagine a teacher of physics who is unable to say anything about Röntgen rays, or about radium. A teacher of mathematics who could give no answer to questions about non-euclidean geometry would not make a better impression.
On the other hand, I should like to advise emphatically against bringing non-euclidean into regular school instruction (i.e., beyond occasional suggestions, upon inquiry by interested pupils), as enthusiasts are always recommending. Let us be satisfied if the preceding advice is followed and if the pupils learn to really understand euclidean geometry. After all, it is in order for the teacher to know a little more than the average pupil.
In George Edward Martin, The Foundations of Geometry and the Non-Euclidean Plane (1982), 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Advice (40)  |  Advise (7)  |  Answer (249)  |  Ask (160)  |  Average (42)  |  Better (192)  |  Beyond (105)  |  Bring (90)  |  Certainly (31)  |  Circle (56)  |  Emphatically (3)  |  Enthusiast (6)  |  Euclidean (3)  |  Follow (124)  |  Form (314)  |  Geometry (232)  |  Give (201)  |  Imagine (76)  |  Impression (72)  |  Inquiry (45)  |  Instruction (73)  |  Interest (237)  |  Know (556)  |  Learn (288)  |  Least (74)  |  Let (61)  |  Little (188)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Moment (107)  |  Non-Euclidean (3)  |  Occasional (14)  |  On The Other Hand (34)  |  Order (242)  |  Part (222)  |  Physics (348)  |  Precede (23)  |  Pupil (36)  |  Question (404)  |  Radium (20)  |  Ray (41)  |  Really (78)  |  Recommend (7)  |  Regular (13)  |  Satisfied (23)  |  Say (228)  |  Scatter (6)  |  School (119)  |  Suggestion (30)  |  Talk (100)  |  Teacher (120)  |  Unable (24)  |  Understand (340)  |  Wide (28)  |  X-ray (19)

See also:
  • 27 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Röntgen's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.