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Photograph of a radiograph of hand taken by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Germany, 1895

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923), a German physicist, discovered x-rays in 1895. This is a photograph of a radiograph (an x-ray negative) taken by Röntgen on 22 December 1895. It shows his wife’s left hand; she is wearing a ring. The original radiograph is at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany. X-rays were quickly taken up by physicians to look inside the body without resorting to surgery. By the 1930s, most hospitals in the United Kingdom had specialist x-ray departments and equipment.

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Glossary: photograph

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Glossary: x-ray photograph

An internal image of the body that is produced by exposing a photographic plate to X-rays.