I’m an enormous fan of each science and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s superior when these two collide. That’s precisely what occurred in Episode 5 of WandaVision.
Right here is my tremendous fundamental introduction to WandaVision for these of you that haven’t seen it. Wanda is a superhero with magical powers that enable her to do all kinds of cool stuff. However one factor that’s perhaps not so cool is that she will be able to flip the city of Westview (and all of its individuals) into some sort of TV present. I do know, it appears bizarre—however I’m simply making an attempt to arrange the physics. As a way to hold most individuals out of her make-believe present, Wanda creates a form of radiation discipline across the city, known as the Hex.
One of many individuals making an attempt to determine what’s occurring with Westview is S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau. After being ejected from the Hex, Monica needs to get again in and discover out Wanda’s motivation. Nonetheless, there’s an issue: The Hex does stuff to individuals. In WandaVision, this radiation could make you suppose you’re in a Nineteen Seventies sitcom or offer you superpowers. (In the true world, radiation messes up molecular bonds, together with those in our our bodies’ cells. For people, that’s simply plain dangerous.)
In Monica’s case, she properly figures that she wants some sort of radiation shielding to get via—and he or she works out her calculations on a board. (Right here you may see a part of her calculations.)
So, offered that you just additionally wanted to get into Westview, how would you calculate the quantity of defending you would want? Are these equations even legit? Let’s discover out.
What Is Radiation, Anyway?
First, we have now to determine what the heck “radiation” really is. Traditionally, individuals found radiation earlier than understanding precisely what was happening. At first, they categorised it into three classes: alpha, beta, gamma (not very inventive). Alpha and beta radiation are particles which can be emitted, typically resulting from some sort of nuclear response. Gamma rays should not particles, however relatively a brief wavelength of electromagnetic radiation.
Gamma rays are a sort of electromagnetic waves—identical to radio waves, seen gentle, and ultraviolet gentle. Technically, you possibly can take into account all electromagnetic waves to be “radiation”—nevertheless it seems that very small wavelengths are those that work together together with your physique’s cells at larger vitality ranges, which makes them extra harmful. Not solely can these rays deposit vitality in human tissues, however they’ll additionally harm DNA and trigger mutations. (It’s most unlikely that gamma rays will flip you into the Hulk.)
All of the sorts of radiation are literally extraordinarily totally different. The alpha particle is (comparatively) heavy and positively charged, however the beta particle has a decrease mass and will be adverse or positively charged. Gamma rays are simply oscillating electrical and magnetic fields. There’s additionally a fourth sort, neutron radiation, that doesn’t have an electrical cost. It must be famous that neutrons had been found lengthy after the primary three sorts of radiation, so this kind didn’t get a cool Greek letter just like the others.
How Do You Calculate Radiation Shielding?
Now we have to calculate the quantity of defending required for Monica’s mission previous the hex discipline and into Westview. How about utilizing a bunch of lead—doesn’t that cease radiation? At the very least, that’s the way you cease Superman’s x-ray imaginative and prescient. (Sure, I do know Superman is within the DC Universe and never the MCU.)
Lead does certainly cease radiation, however a shielding calculation is extra sophisticated than simply slapping up some thick lead partitions. There are a number of essential issues to contemplate when calculating the thickness of a specific defend.