Pollution, our world’s greatest enemy, is destroying our planet at an alarming rate. While a lot of attention is paid to this devil, there exists yet another silent killer that plays an equally important role in taking our planet down; Radiation.
Radiation has been scientifically defined as the energy that is emitted by some source and travels through material or space.
Depending on the source the radiation is emitted from, it may be classified as Particulate or Electromagnetic radiation. It is further classified based on their effects as Ionizing or Non Ionizing radiation.
While radiation and its effects prove to be absolutely fascinating to all, the most interesting facts about it are given below.
1. Effects of radiation may be either harmful or useful.
Radiations like X-Rays, microwaves and Radio waves are considered a boon in today’s world as they are useful in diagnosis and commercial needs. Although X-rays prove to be highly useful in medicine, prolonged and uncontrolled exposure may be extremely harmful.
2. UVA and UVB radiation cause tanning.
UVA and UVB rays are present in sunlight. The UVA rays are capable of penetrating the skin while UVB rays generally affect the outer layer. While the rays are good for the skin, overexposure damages skin cells resulting in burns or tanning.
3. Radiation causes cancer.
Ionizing radiation is a type of radiation that has enough energy to liberate electrons from an atom and hence alter the structure of irradiated molecule. Overexposure to ionizing radiation has detrimental effects on the DNA molecule leading to cancer. Aberrations caused at the DNA level may also be passed on from one generation to the next.
4. Flying causes radiation exposure.
Space acts as a major radioactive source. Radiations from the stars and sun are usually shielded by the atmosphere. However, at higher altitudes, shielding effects of the atmosphere are relatively less. This increases exposure to radiation.
5. Cockroaches can survive radiation.
Cockroaches though not completely resistant are highly tolerant to radiation. For a cockroach to die, it would require exposure to more than 67,000 rems of radiation. This is in contrast to the 1000 rems that is sufficient to kill man.
6. Microwaves though considered a separate band of radiation are actually a subset of radiowaves.
Microwaves have frequencies ranging from 0.3 GHz to 300 GHz.
7. A bomb that gives off radiations is called a dirty bomb.
A dirty bomb is a weapon that contains conventional explosives along with radioactive sources.
8. An ancient civilization in Pakistan is believed to have ended due to presence of high radioactivity.
In a recent study, archaeologists found radioactive skeletons that indicate the presence of radioactivity during the Indus Valley Civilization. It has been believed that the ancient civilization at Mohenjodaro and Harappa (Pakistan) ended as a result of overexposure to radiation.
9. Fukushima in Japan is believed to be one of the top ten radioactive places on the earth.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to be a long lasting danger to the people in Japan following the nuclear disaster in 2011.
10. It has been observed that the radioactive content in mars is almost equal to that present on Earth.
Gamma radiation and X Ray fluorescence measurements in Mars indicate that the content of radioactive elements on this planet is equivalent to that of eruptive rocks present on the Earth.
11. The most radioactive element is Polonium.
12. In the late 1800s, Marie and Pierre Curie were among the first to study certain elements that gave off radiation