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Thread: Radiation

  1. #1 Radiation 
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    Something I'm not quite clear with. Inside a microwave are waves that sits inside of what we know to be the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, radio waves, X-Rays and so on are other examples. To my understanding, these waves are also called radiation and travel at very high speeds.

    What I don't quite get with the crisis in Japan is how they refer to vegetables and sea water that is "contaminated" with radiation.

    If radiation travels at the speed of light, how can it remain motionless inside sea water?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Not an expert, but I think its about radioactive particles that emit radiations, when you drink water or eat plants contaminated, these particles can find themselves inside your body and radiate your cells and cells dna at point blank range.

    Something that may be confusing is the use of the word radiation for electromagnetic radiation(ex:gamma rays), loose particles(neutrons) and radioactive debris/particles/dust/etc ?


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Not an expert, but I think its about radioactive particles that emit radiations, when you drink water or eat plants contaminated, these particles can find themselves inside your body and radiate your cells and cells dna at point blank range.
    Basically. Radioactive particles are in the water and vegeatables, and those radioactive particles will spontaneously undergo radioactive decay, and from within your body is very vulnerable to alpha and beta decay, on top of the gamma decay that produces the electromagnetic gamma radiation, and all of which affect DNA and the cell structure in your body.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  5. #4 Re: Radiation 
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjr150
    What I don't quite get with the crisis in Japan is how they refer to vegetables and sea water that is "contaminated" with radiation.

    If radiation travels at the speed of light, how can it remain motionless inside sea water?
    The water is contaminated with radioactive material that emits particle and photon radiation. In general "radiation" is the process of emission. It does not matter, if it's photons or particles.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Mjr150, you're right. By definition, radiation is not stationary, but travels about (ie, it "radiates"), and radiation is not "sitting around" inside microwave ovens and does not "remain motionless" in sea water.

    So, "radioactive" veggies and sea water are not contaminated with "radiation" (in the exact sense); they are contaminated with radioactive particles that, in turn, can emit radiation. Think of atoms that emit radiation as guns that shoot bullets.

    Microwave ovens contain magnetrons that emit microwaves (that travel through the inside cavity of the ovens). In the same way, radio station antennas emit frequencies in the "radio wave" portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that travel through the atmosphere and many other substances (which is why they're so useful for radios).

    On the other hand, x-rays cannot travel through some substances, so they are useful for taking "pictures" of the insides of people's bodies without surgically opening the people. Almost all substances block/reflect the rays in the visual spectrum, which is why we can see objects (because the light bounces off them and into our eyes), but which is also why we need x-rays to see inside them.

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  7. #6 Re: Radiation 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjr150
    ...What I don't quite get with the crisis in Japan is how they refer to vegetables and sea water that is "contaminated" with radiation.
    The other posts are correct on this. Seawater and veggies can be contmainated with particles that emit radiation of various kinds. These particles can be similar to dust or cigarette smoke particles or even just molecules like iodine-131 disolved in water.

    The press likes to use the phrase "contaminated with radiation" to catch the reader's attention.

    Chris
    It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
    Robert H. Goddard - 1904
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  8. #7 Re: Radiation 
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    [quote="CSMYTH3025"]
    Quote Originally Posted by mjr150

    The press likes to use the phrase "contaminated with radiation" to catch the reader's attention.

    Chris
    Which then leads to misunderstanding and misplaced fears when it comes to things like irradiating food to perserve it. They hear "radiation" and think that food is "contaminated".
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    The mainstream media has generally devolved into rumor-, fear- and hate-mongering, since that's what gets viewer/readers. Yet people continue to blindly trust what they say.
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