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Strange Glow

Author: Timothy J. Jorgensen
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400880521
Size: 22.89 MB
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More than ever before, radiation is a part of our modern daily lives. We own radiation-emitting phones, regularly get diagnostic x-rays, such as mammograms, and submit to full-body security scans at airports. We worry and debate about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety of nuclear power plants. But how much do we really know about radiation? And what are its actual dangers? An accessible blend of narrative history and science, Strange Glow describes mankind's extraordinary, thorny relationship with radiation, including the hard-won lessons of how radiation helps and harms our health. Timothy Jorgensen explores how our knowledge of and experiences with radiation in the last century can lead us to smarter personal decisions about radiation exposures today. Jorgensen introduces key figures in the story of radiation—from Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays, and pioneering radioactivity researchers Marie and Pierre Curie, to Thomas Edison and the victims of the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Tracing the most important events in the evolution of radiation, Jorgensen explains exactly what radiation is, how it produces certain health consequences, and how we can protect ourselves from harm. He also considers a range of practical scenarios such as the risks of radon in our basements, radiation levels in the fish we eat, questions about cell-phone use, and radiation's link to cancer. Jorgensen empowers us to make informed choices while offering a clearer understanding of broader societal issues. Investigating radiation's benefits and risks, Strange Glow takes a remarkable look at how, for better or worse, radiation has transformed our society.

Radiation Risks In Perspective

Author: Kenneth L. Mossman
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 9780849379789
Size: 37.17 MB
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Public misperception of radiological risk consistently directs limited resources toward managing minimal or even phantom risks at great cost to government and industry with no measurable benefit to overall public health. The public’s inability to comprehend small theoretical risks arrived at through inherently uncertain formulae, coupled with an irrational push to eliminate all risk with no contextual understanding of overall benefit, results in a forfeiture of valuable advances in technology in favor of an illusion of safety. Radiation Risks in Perspective uses general concepts underlying radiological risk as a model to illuminate the fundamental problems in public perception, reaction, and policy when faced with possible health risks. Presenting three distinct themes, the author summarizes the causes for the failure of the current system and proposes methods for correction. Beginning with a discussion of the methods used to measure threat, the author weighs the nebulous assessment of risk with the use of a quantifiable assessment of hazardous dose, which uses actual numbers that the public can readily understand and that decision makers can confidently use to enact policy and measure success. Secondly, the author addresses the contextual balancing of cost versus benefit when prioritizing expenditure, specifically emphasizing that it is inappropriate to analyze and discuss individual risks without regard to the presence of other risks. Finally, the author analyzes the public’s tendency to push toward zero risk tolerance, an extremist approach that leads to unreasonable restrictions on technologies, excessive regulatory compliance costs, and the ultimate loss of goods and services. With detailed explanations and illustrative case studies, Radiation Risks in Perspective offers scientists, lawyers, engineers, policy makers, and public health professionals, the skills they need for a rational evaluation of risk.

Radiation

Author: Robert Peter Gale
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Incorporated
ISBN: 0307959694
Size: 34.67 MB
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A forefront radiation expert who consulted during the Chernobyl and Fukushima crises and the author of The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat identify the radioactive fundamentals of the planet while correcting myths to reveal the role of radiation in everyday life and what should and should not raise concern.

Life Atomic

Author: Angela N. H. Creager
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022601794X
Size: 40.61 MB
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After World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began mass-producing radioisotopes, sending out nearly 64,000 shipments of radioactive materials to scientists and physicians by 1955. Even as the atomic bomb became the focus of Cold War anxiety, radioisotopes represented the government’s efforts to harness the power of the atom for peace—advancing medicine, domestic energy, and foreign relations. In Life Atomic, Angela N. H. Creager tells the story of how these radioisotopes, which were simultaneously scientific tools and political icons, transformed biomedicine and ecology. Government-produced radioisotopes provided physicians with new tools for diagnosis and therapy, specifically cancer therapy, and enabled biologists to trace molecular transformations. Yet the government’s attempt to present radioisotopes as marvelous dividends of the atomic age was undercut in the 1950s by the fallout debates, as scientists and citizens recognized the hazards of low-level radiation. Creager reveals that growing consciousness of the danger of radioactivity did not reduce the demand for radioisotopes at hospitals and laboratories, but it did change their popular representation from a therapeutic agent to an environmental poison. She then demonstrates how, by the late twentieth century, public fear of radioactivity overshadowed any appreciation of the positive consequences of the AEC’s provision of radioisotopes for research and medicine.

Radioactivity

Author: Marjorie C. Malley
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 019976641X
Size: 10.68 MB
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Beginning with an obscure discovery in 1896, radioactivity led researchers on a quest for understanding that ultimately confronted the intersection of knowledge and mystery. This book tells the story of a new science that profoundly changed physics and chemistry, as well as areas such as medicine, geology, meteorology, archaeology, industry, politics, and popular culture.

The Spinning Magnet

Author: Alanna Mitchell
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101985186
Size: 37.37 MB
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An engrossing history of the science of one of the four fundamental physical forces in the universe, electromagnetism, right up to the latest indications that the poles are soon to reverse and destroy the world's power grids and electronic communications A cataclysmic planetary phenomenon is gathering force deep within the Earth. The magnetic North Pole will eventually trade places with the South Pole. Satellite evidence suggests to some scientists that the move has already begun, but most still think it won't happen for many decades. All agree that it has happened many times before and will happen again. But this time it will be different. It will be a very bad day for modern civilization. Award-winning science journalist Alanna Mitchell's delightful storytelling introduces enchanting characters from investigations into magnetism in thirteenth-century France to the discovery in the Victorian era that electricity and magnetism emerge from the same force. No one has ever told so eloquently how the Earth itself came to be seen as a magnet, spinning in space with two poles, and that those poles dramatically, catastrophically reverse now and then... The recent finding that Earth's magnetic force field is decaying faster than previously thought, raising fears of an imminent pole reversal, ultimately gives The Spinning Magnet a spine-tingling urgency. When the poles switch, a process that takes many years, Earth is unprotected from solar radiation storms that would, among other things, wipe out all electromagnetic technology. No satellites, no Internet, no smartphones--maybe no power grid at all. Alanna Mitchell offers a beautifully crafted narrative history of ideas and science that readers of Stephen Greenblatt and Sam Kean will love.

Radium And The Secret Of Life

Author: Luis A. Campos
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022623827X
Size: 37.68 MB
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Long before the hydrogen bomb indelibly associated radioactivity with death, many chemists, physicists, botanists, and geneticists were excited thinking that radium held the key to the secret of life. Luis Campos examines the many and varied connections between early radioactivity research and understandings of vitality, both scientific and popular, in the first half of the twentieth century. As some physicists and chemists early on described the wondrous new element and its radioactive brethren in lifelike terms ( decay, half-life, and frequent reference to the natural selection and evolution of the elements), many biologists of the period eagerly sought to bring radium into the biological fold. They did so with experiments aimed at elucidating some of the most basic phenomena of life, including metabolism and mutation, and often saw in these phenomena properties that in turn reminded them of the new element. These initially provocative links between radium and life proved remarkably productive in experimental terms and ultimately led to key biological insights into the origin of life, the nature of mutation, and the structure of the gene. "Radium and the Secret of Life" traces the half-life of this connection between the living and the radioactive, while also exploring the approach to history that emerges when one follows a trail of associations that, asymptotically, never quite disappears."

Naked To The Bone

Author: Bettyann Kevles
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813523583
Size: 37.45 MB
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Presents a history of such technology as X-rays, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound, and shows the effects of their use in literature, art, movies, and legal cases

Group Theory In A Nutshell For Physicists

Author: A. Zee
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400881188
Size: 66.33 MB
Format: PDF
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Although group theory is a mathematical subject, it is indispensable to many areas of modern theoretical physics, from atomic physics to condensed matter physics, particle physics to string theory. In particular, it is essential for an understanding of the fundamental forces. Yet until now, what has been missing is a modern, accessible, and self-contained textbook on the subject written especially for physicists. Group Theory in a Nutshell for Physicists fills this gap, providing a user-friendly and classroom-tested text that focuses on those aspects of group theory physicists most need to know. From the basic intuitive notion of a group, A. Zee takes readers all the way up to how theories based on gauge groups could unify three of the four fundamental forces. He also includes a concise review of the linear algebra needed for group theory, making the book ideal for self-study. Provides physicists with a modern and accessible introduction to group theory Covers applications to various areas of physics, including field theory, particle physics, relativity, and much more Topics include finite group and character tables; real, pseudoreal, and complex representations; Weyl, Dirac, and Majorana equations; the expanding universe and group theory; grand unification; and much more The essential textbook for students and an invaluable resource for researchers Features a brief, self-contained treatment of linear algebra An online illustration package is available to professors Solutions manual (available only to professors)

The Plutonium Files

Author: Eileen Welsome
Publisher: Delta
ISBN: 0307767337
Size: 61.85 MB
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When the vast wartime factories of the Manhattan Project began producing plutonium in quantities never before seen on earth, scientists working on the top-secret bomb-building program grew apprehensive. Fearful that plutonium might cause a cancer epidemic among workers and desperate to learn more about what it could do to the human body, the Manhattan Project's medical doctors embarked upon an experiment in which eighteen unsuspecting patients in hospital wards throughout the country were secretly injected with the cancer-causing substance. Most of these patients would go to their graves without ever knowing what had been done to them. Now, in The Plutonium Files, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eileen Welsome reveals for the first time the breadth of the extraordinary fifty-year cover-up surrounding the plutonium injections, as well as the deceitful nature of thousands of other experiments conducted on American citizens in the postwar years. Welsome's remarkable investigation spans the 1930s to the 1990s and draws upon hundreds of newly declassified documents and other primary sources to disclose this shadowy chapter in American history. She gives a voice to such innocents as Helen Hutchison, a young woman who entered a prenatal clinic in Nashville for a routine checkup and was instead given a radioactive "cocktail" to drink; Gordon Shattuck, one of several boys at a state school for the developmentally disabled in Massachusetts who was fed radioactive oatmeal for breakfast; and Maude Jacobs, a Cincinnati woman suffering from cancer and subjected to an experimental radiation treatment designed to help military planners learn how to win a nuclear war. Welsome also tells the stories of the scientists themselves, many of whom learned the ways of secrecy on the Manhattan Project. Among them are Stafford Warren, a grand figure whose bravado masked a cunning intelligence; Joseph Hamilton, who felt he was immune to the dangers of radiation only to suffer later from a fatal leukemia; and physician Louis Hempelmann, one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the plan to inject humans with potentially carcinogenic doses of plutonium. Hidden discussions of fifty years past are reconstructed here, wherein trusted government officials debated the ethical and legal implications of the experiments, demolishing forever the argument that these studies took place in a less enlightened era. Powered by her groundbreaking reportage and singular narrative gifts, Eileen Welsome has created a work of profound humanity as well as major historical significance. From the Hardcover edition.