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Medical Weird question about Radiation Gamma

  1. Jun 10, 2012 #1
    Hello to the community!

    My question is realy silly, i realy dont know much of physics and radiation thing, but as i was watching the Hulk movie, Bruce got affected by radiation gamma and he became that big humanoid thing who called Hulk, my question is, what can radiation gamma realy do in high exposure situations, and is there any chance for a man to become something like Hulk ?
    (I guess everyone has wondered that thing after he watched the movie)

    I dont want ironic comments.
    I want you to explain me as simplier you can.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2012 #2


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    Gamma radiation, which originates from nuclear or subatomic reactions, scatters off atomic electrons, or at high enough energies, interacts with a nucleus.

    Two electron interactions are photoelectric effect, in which the gamma ray is completely absorbed and an atomic electron is ejected from an atom, and Compton scattering in which only some of the gamma ray energy is absorbed by an atomic (or free electron) resulting in lower energy gamma, usually traveling in a different direction (hence the term scatter).

    At energies above 1.022 MeV, a gamma may produce a positron-electron pair, and at still higher energies, a neutron may be ejected from nucleus in a process known as photoneutron emission.

    The Hulk (like the Avengers or X-men) is pure science fiction.

    Radiation is harmful to living tissue by virtue of the ionziation. Ionization causes free radicals (hydroxyl or peroxide ions) in the cellular structure, and those free radicals damage or destroy the complex molecules such as amino acids/proteins, DNA, RNA, enzymes, coenzymes, etc. Mutations are also possible. Mutations do not cause superpowers.

    Also in the case of the transformation of Bruce Banner into the Hulk or vice versa, there is the problem of conservation of matter/mass.
  4. Jun 10, 2012 #3
    Though evolution would not have been possible without radiation the mutations which are caused are mostly disadvantageous. Because of this there is a whole machinery in the cells which is responsible to repair the damaged DNA. Am I wrong or does the effects in comics (superpowers) stem from the time where radiation was regarded as something good? Partly originating from the propaganda of the government but also from the invention of beneficial nuclear energy? Longer times ago (after the discovery of Radium by M. Curie) the word radio"active" ("active" is something positive) was also used by companies which sold drinks with Radium in them so you become more "active" when drinking them (true story). But of course anything what Astronuc said should have answered your question already (I especially like his comment on mass conservation :) ), just wanted to toss some thoughts in.
  5. Jun 10, 2012 #4
    Radiation considerations aside, there is, in fact, a disease of the pituitary gland that can slowly turn someone into something like the Hulk: acromegaly. Google: Maurice Tillet

  6. Jun 10, 2012 #5
    I see, interesting answers, and thanks very much for your fast responses!
    But in the future i am pretty sure they are gonna make something like that or no ? :S
  7. Jun 11, 2012 #6
  8. Jun 11, 2012 #7


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    Not like the movie. If a human has a mass of ~80kg, it cannot transform into something with more mass, unless it consumes something (like food) in large amounts. And even then: Many parts of a human body have a size which is quite fixed. Just think about bones: They cannot increase their size significantly unless they have at least months to grow.
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