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What are gamma rays and why is this radiation considered the most dangerous?

What are gamma rays and why is this radiation considered the most dangerous?

Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation found naturally in astronomical events, but can also be produced by humans in laboratories and nuclear reactors. However, this radiation poses great risks to living organisms and can cause chronic consequences in the human body. Next, check out more information about gamma rays and understand why this type of radiation is the most dangerous.

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What are gamma rays and why are they dangerous?

Image shows the penetrability of gamma rays compared to other forms of radiation (Reproduction: PNGItem)

Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy consisting of electric and magnetic fields, capable of moving in a vacuum, that is, it does not require a medium to transmit it, such as air or water. This energy includes different frequencies and wavelengths, which determine different forms of application and interaction with humans. For example: The waves used to allow radio and television systems to exist are part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, but do not pose health risks.

Unlike these rays, gamma rays are also part of this group, but they have such incredibly powerful energy that they strip electrons from atoms and molecules they come into contact with, forming ions. This formation of ions can change the way our DNA is structured, causing serious damage.

After prolonged exposure to gamma rays, the damage to the human DNA system must be repaired as quickly as possible. Otherwise, damaged genetic material can lead to the development of cancer, due to a genetic mutation, which can subsequently lead to the death of the patient.

Gamma radiation exists in nature, such as in space during supernova explosions or when two neutron stars collide. However, they can also be replicated artificially in nuclear reactors, where they release many forms of energy (among them gamma radiation). However, it is considered the most dangerous because it has a great ability to reach deep into biological tissue and deform cells, causing extremely serious damage.

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