Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that is always around us and in different types. There are radio waves, which are the longest and are used to transmit data ex. Satellites. Microwaves are another example of EM rays, microwaves are used to cook food and for communication. Infrared energy is the closest to visible light, they are used to see thermal light. Light is the mostly known radiation of electromagnetic energy because it is the reason why we humans are able to see. Ultraviolet light has the next shortest wavelengths after visible light, these are the rays that the sun radiates and ultraviolet rays are used in telescopes as well. X-rays have the next to shortest wavelengths and are mostly referred to as particles instead of rays, as they are so small. X-rays can penetrate soft tissues, such as skin and muscles and are very helpful in hospitals, as they let the doctors see the bones without having to cut open your muscle and skin.
Gamma rays were discovered in 1900 by the French chemist and physicist Paul Ulrich Villard, though it was not he who named the discovery. Gamma-rays have the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any other wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. These waves are generated by radioactive atoms and in nuclear explosions.
Gamma-rays can kill living cells, which is why they are used a lot in medicine. The gamma-rays are used in cancer treatments, as they kill the deadly cancer cells. Gamma ray is the most effective way, right now, to cure cancer and it is the reason why many people have survived the disease. The gamma rays are also used for sterilization purposes as it can kill bacteria, insects, and yeasts, which often is used in laboratories and in hospitals. Gamma rays are also used in an industrial setting to spot problems in metal castings and to find weak points in welded structures. The rays are also used to examine airport luggage and cargo, as they can sense and alert if dangerous metal objects, such as weapons, are carried into the airport.
The extremely high energy of gamma rays allows them to penetrate just about anything. They can even pass through bones and teeth. This makes gamma rays very dangerous. They can produce gene mutations, give you radiation sickness and cause cancer, that is ironic because they also are used to treat cancer. When you have mild radiation sickness the usual symptoms are hair loss, dead skin, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. The cells in your digestive organs can also be killed by the gamma rays. The more serious effect of gamma rays is severe radiation sickness. The symptoms of severe radiation sickness are diarrhea, headache, hair loss, skin burns, poor healing, cancer, and death. The radiation also damages the bone marrow, as it is made out of fast-growing cells that are vulnerable to gamma rays. The marrow is responsible for producing both red and white blood cells. The red cells carry oxygen to all the parts of your body, and the white cells are part of the immune system. If these cells are not properly produced, there is a big chance of death.
Every time when humanity has discovered a new source of energy, each time more powerful than before ex. nitroglycerin and nuclear power, the question if it is “a hero or a villain?” always occurred. And as we know from history, the answer was always the same. If we use it responsibly, carefully and towards purposes that are positive, for everyone, it is a hero. It is important to research all the effects, both short term, and long term. If powerful discoveries are used in harmful ways, it would be easy to call it a villain.