By Timothy J. Jorgensen
Greater than ever sooner than, radiation is part of our sleek day-by-day lives. We personal radiation-emitting telephones, on a regular basis get diagnostic x-rays, comparable to mammograms, and undergo full-body defense scans at airports. We fear and debate in regards to the proliferation of nuclear guns and the protection of nuclear strength crops. yet how a lot will we fairly find out about radiation? And what are its real risks? An available mixture of narrative background and technology, unusual Glow describes mankind's notable, thorny courting with radiation, together with the hard-won classes of the way radiation is helping and harms our future health. Timothy Jorgensen explores how our wisdom of and stories with radiation within the final century can lead us to smarter own judgements approximately radiation exposures today.
Jorgensen introduces key figures within the tale of radiation—from Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays, and pioneering radioactivity researchers Marie and Pierre Curie, to Thomas Edison and the sufferers of the new Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy plant twist of fate. Tracing crucial occasions within the evolution of radiation, Jorgensen explains precisely what radiation is, the way it produces sure well-being outcomes, and the way we will guard ourselves from damage. He additionally considers a number of sensible situations equivalent to the hazards of radon in our basements, radiation degrees within the fish we devour, questions on cell-phone use, and radiation's hyperlink to melanoma. Jorgensen empowers us to make expert offerings whereas delivering a clearer figuring out of broader societal issues.
Investigating radiation's merits and hazards, unusual Glow takes a amazing examine how, for greater or worse, radiation has remodeled our society.
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Additional info for Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation
For example, it took 15 minutes of Now You See It • 29 exposure to produce the x-ray photograph of Roentgen’s wife’s hand—something that can be accomplished in 1/50th of a second today. Roentgen’s self-protection paid off. He lived many years and apparently suffered no ill effects from his work with x-rays. Roentgen obviously had not set out to produce electromagnetic radiation from his Crookes tube. He was interested in the properties of cathode rays flying free through space. So how was it that Roentgen was able to produce x-rays from what was little more than a souped-up light bulb, and what underlying physical principle did his experiments reveal?
Many of these radioisotopes are mixed with and cannot be easily separated from their nonradioactive forms. And some of the elements with natural radioisotopes are essential to life, including carbon, the element that plays a critical role in all biochemical synthesis pathways, and potassium, an essential element in cells and blood. Thus all living things are radioactive, to some extent. Radioactivity inside and outside of human bodies exposes humans to a continuous bath of low-level radiation. Becquerel possessed uranium sulfate within his collection of minerals simply because it fluoresced.
It was as though some type of invisible rays were coming from the tube, penetrating these materials, and hitting the fluorescent screen. Thinking these mysterious rays were some new form of light, he tried to bend them with a prism just as Newton would have undoubtedly attempted, but to no avail. They could not be bent with a prism, so they weren’t rays of light. 36 That didn’t work either, thus ruling out electrons as the source of the glow. , light rays and cathode rays) were deflectable by either prisms or magnets, but these mysterious “rays” were affected by neither .