Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen was born on March 27, 1845 in Lennep, Germany to Friedrich and Charlotte Constance Roentgen. When he was three Wilhelm and his family moved to Apeldoorn, Nederland. His father owned a thriving cloth business so he was pretty well off. He lived right next to the Kostschool of Martinus Hermanus van Doorn, a boarding school with around eighty students, which he attended.
He was expected after he graduated to go into his father’s business and eventually inherit it. At sixteen, he finished van Doorn’s school. His parents thought he was too young to start working, and he had a strong desire to learn, so a few years later, he ended up at the University of Utrecht. There was one problem though, the family he was supposed to stay with had to move. So Professor Gunning (the father in the family) got him enrolled at the Athenaeum in Amsterdam, which meant Wilhelm had to part with the Gunnings. That forced Wilhelm to bunk with another student going to his college, because back then they didn’t have dormitories for students. On March 17, 1865 a fraternity called “Placet hic requiescere Musis” (May the Muses rest here) selected him as a member of their fraternity. Then on May 9 he joined a scientific society called “Natura Dux nobis et auspex” (Nature is our leader and protector).
Wilhelm didn’t like keeping house so, he found a room with the family of a cabinetmaker. There he started writing his first book, called “Question for the Inorganic Part of the Chemistry Textbook”, under the pen name of Dr J. W. Gunning. As you probably figured out that was the name of the man he had lived with in the past. People tried to find the real author but all they could find were the initials W.C.R. Wilhelm would later go to school in another college called Swiss Federal Technical School in Zurich, Switzerland. He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy on June 22, 1869.
While he was attending the Swiss Federal Technical School, he met the beautiful Anna Bertha Ludwig at the Zum Grunen Glas, a cafe owned by her father. Wilhelm married Bertha on June 19, 1872 and they would later adopt a daughter.
After he received his Doctor of Philosophy, he went back to the Zum Grunen Glas, where he knew he would be congratulated by some of his friends. There, he met one of his old professors, Professor Kundt, who suggested he should work in the field of physics. Three years later, Wilhelm found himself a job at the Agricultural College in Hohenmeim, Germany as a professor of physics and mathematics. It was a small college where his physics laboratory had only one room. After a year, Professor Roentgen received a call from his old friend Professor Kundt, he said they needed a second chair for physics and on October 1, 1876, the Roentgens moved to Strassburg, Germany. He would stay there for three years.
On April 1, 1879, four days after his thirty-fourth birthday, Roentgen received word that the University of Giessen in Germany was looking for a new professor of physics. The old one had died the previous Christmas and they needed a professor to “tackle more basic problems.” He was recommended by three professors who were considered greats. One of them was his old friend August Kundt. For the first time, he was going to be a full professor. Professor Roentgen would teach there for nine years, until 1888, when he went on to become a professor at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany.
By the time Professor Roentgen went to Wurzburg, he was labeled a great scientist and was well respected. Many felt that he was the “great German professor of the Victorian Age.” When he moved, he brought his assistant, Ludwig Zehnder with him from Giessen to Wurzburg, just like Professor Kundt did with him. Roentgen has always been an efficient worker. Between the year 1889 to 1895 he published seventeen scientific papers, with...
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