Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Radiation

  • Zoran Marmut
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_2910

Definition

Radiation is the transmission of energy through space, both in the form of waves (electromagnetic radiation, EMR) and in the form of streams of atomic particles (particulate radiation). Each of the several kinds of EMR spectrum is characterized by its own wavelength or frequency. Gamma rays have the shortest wavelength followed by, in increasing order, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation,  microwaves, and radio waves. Some of the forms of particulate radiation are alpha particles, protons, neutrons, and electrons (e, β, β+). A narrow meaning of the term radiation is the transmission of energy by waves.

Basic Characteristics

The whole electromagnetic spectrum (EMR and particulate radiation altogether) is divided into two major regions—ionizing and nonionizing, according to wavelength and energy potential. Ionization means disruption of a molecule or atom's structure by removing one or more electrons. Ionizing radiation is more potent, with...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoran Marmut
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Hygiene and Medical Ecology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia