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Alpha, Beta, Gamma , neutron ray, which one is harmful?

  1. Dec 9, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    If you were given 4 cookies, each emitter different ray
    1)Alpha, 2)Beta,3) Gamma , 4)neutron
    You have to make decision of the following:
    a)eat one of the cookies
    b)dispose one of the cookies at storage facility called WHIP
    c)put one of the cookies in your pocket
    d)hold one of the cookies
    the decision you make must minimize the danger of radioactive exposure to yourself.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    1)d 2)c 3)a 4)b
    Am i right?
    I'm not sure 3 and 4, since human mostly made of water, and neutron cannot penetrate water, so i guess gamma ray would be better to eat.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2009 #2
    I'm not very good at Physics, but from Chemistry I know that you definetly do not want to be eating gamma rays.
  4. Dec 10, 2009 #3
    Yes,gamma ray is the most dangerous, but alpha and beta ray is much more dangerous in our body, because both ray cannot penetrate through our tissue. So, it cannot be a). It is either 3 or 4.

    Anyone?,I need this today..........

  5. Dec 10, 2009 #4
    Think of alpha rays as slow, but very big, dump trucks moving down an alley filled with items spaced randomly.

    Think of gamma rays as a very fast, but small and narrow, motorcycle moving down the same alley.

    Which one will hit the most items?
    The big dump truck is going to smash through just about everything in the alley.
    The motorcycle is only going to hit the items directly in the center (path of the bike)

    Think of the "items" as cells in your body

    *The dump truck is going to kill the most cells*
  6. Dec 10, 2009 #5
    Yes, I understand, but i not sure about neutron ray.....
  7. Dec 10, 2009 #6
    What kind of vehicle would the neutron ray be? If it's just a ray of individual neutrons, it would be a "car" in this scenario.
  8. Dec 10, 2009 #7
    Are you sure about that? You're working under the assumption that they all make it through the alley. Don't Alpha particles just get blocked at the skin? Isn't there a question of penetration depth to be taken into account here?

    Are you absolutely sure? I always thought the opposite.

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