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Effects of Radiation on Living Cells Essay

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Below is an essay on "Effects of Radiation on Living Cells" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Radiation is characterized by radioactive particle or energy emissions from unstable atomic nuclei.   Atoms in this unstable state have the propensity to “decompose” into a more stable state.   The actual decomposition is called radioactivity.   Radioactivity occurs naturally in the environment, but some materials can also be manipulated by men to create radioactive sources.   These natural and man-made sources of radioactive particles or energies are utilized to aid man for a myriad of causes, but they also pose a threat to living cells of the organisms exposed to them.  
Scientists like Marie Curie discovered that there are interactions amongst atoms with unstable nuclei, called radioisotopes, which yield several different particles or energies as a result.   The instability of the nucleus in an atom stems from proton to neutron ratio disproportion, hence particles or electromagnetic waves are emitted to attain a more stable atomic structure.   In turn, 2 types of radiation can be produced; that which is ionizing, or non-ionizing.   Ionizing radiation is that which changes the electrical charge on an atom by adding or removing electrons or protons.   Some ionizing particles include the alpha particle and the beta particle.   The alpha particle is emitted from a nucleus in alpha decay when the neutron to proton ratio is low.   In the process, particles positively charged by 2 protons are emitted along with 2 neutrons, a Helium nucleus.   Beta decay involves transmission of electrons.   Typically, when there are more neutrons than protons, neutrons spontaneously convert to protons, and emit an electron.   This also happens where there are more protons than neutrons, so protons spontaneously convert to neutrons and positively charged electrons called positrons (antimatter) are emitted.   Non-ionizing radiation is gamma decay which doesn’t involve charged particles, but instead is the emission of photon energy from a highly energized nucleus to lower the energy level.   The...

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