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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Quiz on Radiation -- Funny Quiz to Test Your Knowledge

stock here---like this stuff?   Drop a comment, sign up as a follower.

You have three cookies.

One emits alpha radiation, one emits beta radiation and one emits gamma radiation.

You have to eat one, put another in your pocket and put a third into a lead box.
Which do you put where? Explain.

stock here: so of course it's just a simple question, they don't tell you what isotope it is.    Other commenters at reddit state that they most important thing to know would be the energy of each "cookie".   There-in lies the rub, the huge lie promoted by the nuclear industry that "it is all about the energy".  

No, it's about a lot of things,
  1. such as bioaccumulation, 
  2. biological half life, 
  3. spacing through out the body, 
  4. does it migrate to certain organs, 
  5. does it have chemical toxicity on it's own, 
  6. what is the shape and size of the "particle" if it is one
  7. personal variations in reaction to certain chemicals and radiation, 
  8. pre-existing problems.
but lets play:

The first selection is simple, really a no brainer.

Put Alpha in the pocket, it will do you no harm there, anything stops Alpha, even an inch of air, any paper, dead skin, etc.

If you eat Alpha, it packs the biggest punch of all three
If you put it in the lead box, you are wasting a shielding tool

The second selection is less obvious, without knowing isotope 

It takes 1.3 feet of lead to stop a typical Gamma, how big is that box and where is it?   Does it have to stay right next to you?

But a Gamma doesn't interact with much, it's like a bullet going through a series of chain link fences.   So you could eat it, and fairly good chance it just flies out of your body with no interaction.
The lead box would definitely stop a Beta, so that threat would be eliminated

So how is one to decide?  

Knowledge of likely emitters is the answer.    The most likely dangerous, aka man made, radio-isotopes that are almost all Beta emitters are Strontium 90, Iodine 131, and Tritium.    Strontium sticks to your bones....really well, and will give you Leukemia, cancer of the blood, one of the worst.   Tritium is the same as water, it will flow out of your body pretty quickly, if you have just one Tritium cookie.  
But strontium is the killer.  And Iodine really effectively goes almost all to your thyroid.

So I would shy away from eating the Beta, and put that in the lead box, a guaranteed knockout.

Third Choice is already made for you, now

So now you are forced to eat the Gamma, maybe that is Cesium.   Cesium has a pretty short biological half life, maybe 80 days.   And it might just shoot straight out of you without hitting anything.

Any comments?


  1. Replies
    1. Merry Christmas to you too Lucey

      I am glad you are not too politically correct

  2. You will find, if you are really serious about,radiation education, that the mention of "cesium" without quantifying how much, what level exposure, really doesnt tell the story. Its not enough to spout out isotopes without quantifying. I know you know there are 6e23 atoms per mole, and water is 18 g/mole. Thats alot of atoms in our body. Now one disintegrating isotope atom emitting a flicker of energy might be the same as shining a flashlight up on the night sky. Do you really think it matters at that level? LNT is a philosophy, a hypothesis, not a matter of science.

    Greetings Professor Falken. A strange game. The only way to win is not to play.

    Unless someone else plays and wrecks your day!


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