1875-1900

Wilhelm Rontgen

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(March 27, 1845 – February 10, 1923)
Prussia
Rontgen was born as the only child of a merchant. He was raised in the Netherlands and received his early education at a private school. In 1869 he graduated with a Ph. D. from the University of Zurich.
In 1895 he discovered x-rays. He did so accidently because he was doing an experiment with light and discovered x-rays instead. Two months after his discovery he made a picture of his wife’s hand.


Henri Becquerel
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(15 December 1852 – 25 August 1908)
France
Becquerel was born in Paris into a family that produced four generations of scientists. In 1890 he married Louise Désirée Lorieux. In 1892 he became the third family member to occupy the physics chair at the Museum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle.
Becquerel found that rays coming from a uranium ore developed photographic paper. He found out that the rays did not come from an external source and were more powerful than the rays from pure uranium.

J.J. Thomson
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(December 18, 1856 – August 30, 1940)
United Kingdoms
Thomson’s father died when he was 16. In 1870 he studied engineering at University of Manchester. In 1880, he obtained his BA in mathematics and MA in 1883. In 1890 he married Rose Paget. He had one son and one daughter. He won the Nobel Prize in 1906.

Thomson investigated whether or not a negative charge could be separated from the cathode rays by means of magnetism. He also investigated whether or not rays could be deflected by electric fields. He made the cathode ray tube practically perfect vacuum and coated one end with phosphorescent paint. Thomson found that rays did bend under the influence of electric fields, indicating a negative charge.