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"On a New Kind of Rays"; In: Nature, A Weekly Illustrated Journal of Science. Volume LIII, November 1895 to April 1896. Translated by Arthur Stanton
London: Macmillan, 1896. First edition in English. A fine copy/From the Collection of Allan B. Kirsner, M.D. Tall 8vo. Röntgen's article is on pages 274-276, illustrated with two photographs. Entire volume: 624 pp. Original decorated cloth, the front cover with gilt- and black-blocked title vignette, repeated on the spine. The first announcement in English of Röntgen's ground-breaking discovery of X-Rays in 1895. Though earlier experimenters had been nearing the discovery, it was not found until the unassuming Würtzburg professor Wilhem Röntgen experimented with William Crookes' version of the "Geisslertube," a form of vacuum tube sealed at the ends with platinum terminals to permit the passage of an electric current through the tube. "Hertz and Lenard had published on the penetrating powers of cathode rays (electrons) and Röntgen thought that there were unsolved problems worth investigation... As a preliminary to viewing the cathode rays on a fluorescent screen, Röntgen 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 Röntgen 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 Röntgen... 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" (DSB). Translations of Rontgen's paper soon started to appear, beginning with an English translation in Nature on 23 January. By 20 February Nature was commenting that "so numerous are the communications being made to scientific societies that it is difficult to keep pace with them, and the limits of our space would be exceeded if we attempted to describe the whole of the contributions to the subject, even at this early stage" (Bakker, p. 319). News was quick to spread, and was soon to be interpreted, studied, and reviewed. On pp. 276-77 is A. A. C. Swinton's "Professor Röntgen's Discovery," illustrated with an x-ray and reviewing recent newspaper reports of Röntgen's discovery. On pp. 377-380 is "The Röntgen Rays," a further review. See for the first edition in German (offprint issue): Dibner, Heralds of Science 162; Garrison-Morton-Norman 2683; Norman 1841-1842. See for the first periodical issue: Grolier/Horblit 90; Grolier Medicine 83A-B; Printing and the Mind of Man 380.
      [Bookseller: Riverrun Books & Manuscripts]
Last Found On: 2017-08-26           Check availability:      Biblio    


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