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Question

Which is most likely to burn you? Microwaves, gamma rays or x rays?
Asked by: Robyn Lewis

Answer

Why do you get burnt by radiation? It is because the radiation interacts with the stuff in your body (mostly water). Gamma rays have energies that are too high to interact (change the energy levels) of molecules, X-rays interact with mainly atoms (like the calcium in your bones) - though both the above can lead to cancer if exposure is more than a safe dose.

The case is different with microwaves - the rotational and vibrational energies of molecules lie in their range - they can heat up the water in your cells just like the microwave radiation in an oven heats up food.

So, microwaves would probably do the most damage to your body.
Answered by: Amar Chandra, Physics Undergraduate, IIT Kanpur


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