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Wilhelm Röntgen (Transkei)

The stamp

The stamp was issued by the Republic of Transkei, in South Africa on 12 October 1984. It formed part of a series of famous physicians.

The doctor

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born on 27 March 1845 in Prussia but moved at the age of 3 with his family to Holland. He studied mechanical engineering at Zurich and became a lecturer in Strasburg. He later became Professor of Physics at Strasburg, Giessen, Wurzburg and also Munich.

In 1895, whilst experimenting with vacuum tubes, he discovered X-rays. During his experiments, he saw a flickering of an image of his own hand bones. Six weeks later he took the first X-ray image, of his wife’s hand who exclaimed, “I have seen my death”. You can see the X-ray on the stamp. Röntgen died on 10 February 1923 of colonic carcinoma.

Urology connections

Urology was one of the first specialties to take advantage of the new X-rays. In Great Britain, John Macintyre (1857-1928) is credited with the creation of the world’s first radiology department at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. James Swain (1862-1951) of Bristol published on renal stone imaging in 1897 and Edwin Hurry Fenwick (1856-1944) pioneered radiology in urology at the London Hospital.

Read more about the early history of uro-radiology

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