Plates taken from Blondlot's 'N Rays', 1905.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photographic plates entitled 'Length of spark perpendicular to axis of tube' (left) and 'Length of spark parallel to axis of tube' (right) taken from Rene Blondlot's 'N Rays' (1905). Shortly after the discovery of X-rays in 1900, the French scientist Rene Blondlot (1849-1930) reported that he had discovered a new type of invisible radiation, which he named the 'N' ray in honour of his home town of Nancy. Although several of Blondlot's contemporaries also claimed to have seen 'N' rays, later work showed that no such ray exists.