• Question: what if you get a build up of radiation and it starts to surrond you , could it be in anyway formed a tpye of force field?

    Asked by emilyleigh99 to Toby, Sam, Loren, Jo on 23 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Jo Nettleship

      Jo Nettleship answered on 23 Jun 2014:

      Hi emilyleigh99,
      If you had a build up of radiation this would be quite dangerous so would act as a force field as nobody would want to come near you! The radiation could be heat and so you wouldn’t be so happy in the middle of it, or gamma radiation and then you would be radioactive so get sick.

    • Photo: Loren Macdonald

      Loren Macdonald answered on 23 Jun 2014:

      Radiation is more physics based than my knowledge goes, but we do deal with radiation in the lab so I know a bit about it. You definitely wouldn’t want to be surrounded by radiation at all- and it wouldn’t be very good for you, depending on the type of radiation it is. As Jo said, it could also be very warm!

      Most radiation is pretty damaging to people, so you could get sick very quickly. Some of them could also lead to death in a short time if there was enough of it.

      You could build a ‘force field’ of sorts to keep it out. For example, certain types of radiation can be shielded by different things. Low-energy radiation is simply stopped by air- if you’re far enough away, it’s not a problem. For higher energy you might need thick plastic/glass or even thick lead to stop it!

    • Photo: Sam Lear

      Sam Lear answered on 23 Jun 2014:

      I don’t know about the human body, but the closest thing I could find to the ‘force fields’ that appear in science fiction is a suggested idea for protecting space craft from harmful radiation in space.

      Space is full of ‘cosmic rays’ from various sources, and this would be a problem for space travel because astronauts would be at risk from cancer if they travel too far away from the Earth.

      A suggested solution for this is to use a ‘plasma’ – which is like a very hot gas where the atoms have been ripped apart – enclosed in a metal mesh around the spacecraft. Apparently this would be equivalent to a shield made of aluminium several inches thick.

      I wouldn’t like to wear a suit made of this, but it will be quite cool if we protect spacecraft with force fields like this in future!

      Here is the article