What is radiation?

Let us first tackle the question on what is radiation? In the most basic sense, radiation is source of energy that is capable of going through any object and can be absorbed by said object. Many people would think that radiation is a piece of rock with a green glow that can cause certain effects to the human body and the environment. The belief is not entirely false but the world of comic books fails to mention what is beyond that small definition.

In order for us to understand better on what is radiation, let us learn about the two types of radiation. The first one is known as ionizing radiation and is the most normally known or thought of radiation. Ionizing radiation is a kind of radiation that has minute particles with their own energy supply that has the ability to take away an electron from a molecule or atom. The product of this stripping is called free radicals and is known by the scientific world as a reactive chemical that can cause plenty of biological damage.

Alternatively, non-ionizing radiation is the antithesis of ionizing radiation. It also has energy but not enough to take an electron away but excites that electron to a higher energy level. Again, like ionizing radiation, it too has side effects to the human body and the environment. Some common examples are infrared, visible light, radio waves and microwaves.

Despite the possible health risks in the use of radiation, it is still an important source of energy because it still has many crucial applications. It used to diagnose and treat many diseases and also play an important role in medical research for the search of another breakthrough in the field of medicine. The x-ray and CT scan use radiation to capture images of the inside of the body while radiation therapy is used to treat many kinds of diseases like cancer.

Radiation has also found its way in communication. All types of recent telecommunication systems and devices use electromagnetic radiation to send out data. It is the difference of intensity of the radiation that helps deliver that data into an understandable form like pictures and sounds. Another application is in the field of science. It is used in carbon dating in which scientist can determine the age of certain object. In science, radiation has a myriad of uses.

But the most famous use of radiation is nuclear radiation. It can make life easy and also take it away in a blink of an eye. Plenty of countries take advantage of nuclear power to give nearly endless amounts of energy to power their cities and also military weapons like submarines. And it has also been used in the nuclear bomb which has already seen in action in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Indeed, radiation is both helpful and harmful for humankind. It is just a matter of how to use it properly.

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