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X rays, Gamma rays, Microwaves Essay Sample

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X rays, Gamma rays, Microwaves Essay Sample

X rays, gamma rays and micro waves are very useful and are used in lots of different places all over the world but they can affect people an even kill them when used a lot of times.

X rays were invented completely by accident in 1895 when a German physicist named Wilhelm Roentgen made the discovery while experimenting with electron beams in a gas discharge tube. He noticed that a fluorescent screen in his lab started to glow when the electron beam was turned on. Roentgen then placed various objects between the tube and the screen, and the screen still glowed. Finally, he put his hand in front of the tube, and saw the silhouette of his bones projected onto the fluorescent screen. Immediately after discovering X-rays themselves, he had discovered their most beneficial application.

So now x ray technology is used in hospitals letting doctors see straight through human tissue to examine broken bones, cavities and swallowed objects with extraordinary ease. Now modified X-ray procedures can be used to examine softer tissue, such as the lungs, blood vessels or the intestines.

The machines used to take X-ray pictures produce X-rays with energies of around 120,000 electron volts. The X-rays used for cancer treatment are much more powerful, with energies of between 2 million and 20 million electron volts.

Too much exposure to x rays though is very dangerous as it causes numerous radiation ‘burns’, cancer reduction of the blood supply, ulcerations and thus lots of pain. So to prevent this from happening, hospitals use small doses reducing the risk of cancer or burns to the patients, but because staff in the X-ray department work with X-rays all the time they would be more likely to get exposed to quite a high dose of radiation if they stayed beside every patient over the course of time. This is why they go behind a screen when the X-ray beam is switched on because it stops this from happening.

Gamma rays are given off by stars, and by some radioactive substances. They are extremely high frequency waves, and carry a large amount of energy and pass through most materials .They are quite difficult to stop – you need lead or concrete in order to block them out.

Gamma irradiation is widely used for sterilising medical products, for other products such as wool, and for food. Cobalt-60 is the main isotope used, since it is an energetic gamma emitter.

As gamma rays can kill living cells they are used in medicine to kill and treat certain types of cancers and tumours. In the procedure called gamma-knife surgery, multiple concentrated beams of gamma rays are directed on the growth in order to kill the cancerous cells. The beams are aimed from different angles to focus the radiation on the growth while minimising damage to the surrounding tissues.

The gamma rays passing through tissue of the body produce ionization in tissue, but high levels of gamma rays can produce dangerous ionization of the tissue and can cause skin cancer.

These rays bombard our bodies constantly; they come from the naturally radioactive materials in rocks and the soil and we take some of these materials into our bodies from the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy, like light waves or radio waves, and occupy a part of the electromagnetic spectrum of power, or energy. Microwaves are very short waves of electromagnetic energy that travel at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second). In our modern technological age, microwaves are used to relay long distance telephone signals, television programs, and computer information across the earth or to a satellite in space. But the microwave is most familiar to us as an energy source for cooking food. Microwaves distort the molecular structure of the foods and they destroy much of the nutrients and cause many other problems with the immune system over a period of time.

If microwaves in an oven can cook a piece of beef, they will also have the same effect on human tissue if exposed to high enough intensities for a long enough period of time. Certain body organs are particularly sensitive to this thermal effect. For example, if the lens of the eye were exposed to excessive heat from microwaves, its circulatory system would be unable to provide sufficient cooling, and it would cook like the white of an egg. Exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause cataracts. Also, the stomach, intestines and bladder are especially sensitive to thermal damage from high levels of microwaves

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