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Radiation Article by: Christopher S. Baird, Department of Chemistry and Physics, West Texas A & M University, Canyon, Texas. Content • Electromagnetic radiation • Particle radiation • Acoustic radiation • Gravitational radiation • Ionizing versus non-ionizing radiation Key Concepts • Radiation involves the emission and propagation of particles or waves. • The major types of radiation are electromagnetic, particle, acoustic, and gravitational. • Electromagnetic radiation consists of photons. • Particle radiation consists of rapidly moving particles. • Acoustic radiation, or sound, consists of traveling patterns of vibration in a medium. • Gravitational radiation consists of traveling patterns of spacetime curvature. Access to this content is available to Ward's World readers for free from McGraw Hill's AccessScience, an award-winning, digital STEM resource containing exclusive articles written by expert scientists and engineers; biographies of well-known scientific figures; science news, videos, and animations; and much, much more. Instructors can use AccessScience to guide students on their research project journeys, to help students understand scientific concepts, to support distance learning efforts, in flipped classroom approaches, and in countless other ways. Ward's World and AccessScience have partnered to offer educators a no-obligation, free trial subscription to AccessScience. Request your free trial today to discover how valuable AccessScience can be for you and your students! Get your free trial now. The emission and outward propagation of energy-carrying particles or waves; also, the emitted particles or waves themselves. Radiation is a common phenomenon that transfers energy, matter, momentum, and information from one place to another. The major types of radiation are electromagnetic radiation (Fig. 1), particle radiation, acoustic radiation, and gravitational radiation. Generally speaking, any particle or wave can become radiation if it is emitted from a source and then propagates directly away from its source. In science, the word "radiation" is used in this general sense and does not nec-essarily imply that the particle or wave is harmful. Radiation that is directly harmful is referred to as ionizing radiation. Only ionizing radiation can, depending on the exposure, directly cause radiation sickness, mutation, and cancer. Radiation tends to travel in straight lines through space as it propagates away from its source. Radiation continues to propagate in this way until it encounters and interacts with a physical object. Through this interaction, the radiation can transfer to the object some or all of its energy, matter, momentum, or infor-mation. In the situation where all of the radiation is traveling generally in the same direction, the radiation is referred to as a beam. For instance, the radiation from a laser is known as a laser beam. Similarly, the radiation from a proton accelerator is known as a proton beam. + ward ' s science Fig. 1: Crepuscular rays, which are shafts of air illuminated by electromagnetic radiation (light) radiating from the Sun. [Credit: Danny Chapman / Flickr/ Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )]

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