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Extra info for Nuclear Reactor Thermal-Hydraulics Vol 4 [7th Intl Meeting]
Reactions involving the nuclei of atoms rarely occur naturally on the Earth and were not artificially produced until quite recently. Such nuclear reactions were first revealed to us by scientific experiments performed by Lord Rutherford in 1919. The theory explaining nuclear reactions was developed in the 1920s and 1930s, and culminated in large-scale releases of nuclear energy in reactors and in bombs during World War II. Why did I say above that we rarely see nuclear reactions "on the Earth"?
Electromagnetic radiations (X rays and gamma rays). X rays and gamma rays behave rather differently from the particles. When a photon of such radiation strikes an atom, it ejects an electron from the atom, thus ionizing it, and producing an energetic electron. These electrons, just like beta rays, lose energy in matter by producing many further ionizations. However, unlike a charged particle, the X ray or gamma ray may penetrate deeply into tissue before it loses all of its energy through ionization.
Damage to a cell may therefore affect all the progeny cells derived from it. If such cells are our germ cells, then the damage will be passed on to their progeny cells-which become our children. 3 Radiation: How the Atoms Interact "Radiation" has become a horror word for most Americans. Comic-strip fiction is full of exotic and dangerous radiations, and every hero of the future has a ray gun. In the real world, we hear about deadly radiation from nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs, and we know that X rays can penetrate our bodies and damage human embryos.