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Experiments with 63b Röntgen’s X-rays. ‘P roefnemingen Met De Röntgen’sche Stralen in of the Hoogere Burgerschool for secondary education, hadexperiment with X-rays. The reason why they were able to do sowas that Hoffmans, who was a teacher of physics and directort Laboratorium der Hoogere Burgerschool teheMaastricht’ (Experiments with The Röntgen’s 162 Radiation in the Laboratory of the Hoogere Burgerschool in access to the school’s well equipped physics laboratory which Maastricht). This was the title of a brochure published early contained the equipment needed to generate these rays. He February 1896 by publisher Leiter-Nypels in Maastricht. also had experience in the use of the equipment, although for Dr Heinrich Joseph Hoffmans (1842-1925) described the ten a different purpose. From the start of the nineteenth century, experiments with X-rays which he had conducted with a great deal of research had been done into conduction of Dr Lambert van Kleef (1846-1928), physician-director of the currents in gases under low pressure. These experiments Calvariënberg hospital, in the laboratory of the school for usually involved the so-called Crookes tube. This is a glass tube secondary education. What is most striking about this in which a vacuum is established and in which a positive and document is the time of its publication: 6 February, 1896, a negative electrode are mounted. When a strong current is less than six weeks after Prof. Dr Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen created between these electrodes, there is an electrical (1845 -1923) had published his discovery. This reflects the discharge from the negative to the positive pole which causes enormous publicity surrounding this discovery, probably the tube to emit light. The colour of the light is determined by because the potential applications defied anyone’s imagination. the type of gas in the tube. Röntgen was conducting a similar On 17 January, 1896, only three weeks after Röntgen experiment when he accidentally discovered that a different published his findings, did Hoffmans and Van Kleef start to type of radiation, which he named X rays was released. Undoubtedly, Hoffmans had also done such experiments in the classroom to illustrate his teaching without realising that X rays were generated. He used Bunsen cups to create a current and a Ruhmkorff induction coil to produce high voltage pulses and he also had Crookes tubes of several configurations available. So, after Röntgen had announced his discovery to the world, Hoffmans could set to work immediately. After some experiments in imaging coins (rijksdaalders) and even an amputated foot, he and Dr van Kleef produced the first X-ray picture of the hand of Van Kleef’s twenty-one-year-old daughter Bertha on 28 January 1896. For the development and reproduction of the photographic plates he called in the help of photographer J. van den Eerenbeemt. The experiments he conducted are described in detail in the above-mentioned


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