I’m a huge fans of both sciences and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s amazing when these two meet. That’s exactly what happened in episode 5 of WandaVision.
Here is my super basic introduction to WandaVision for those of you who haven’t seen it. Wanda is a superhero with magical powers that allow her to make all sorts of cool clothes. But one thing that perhaps isn’t so nice is that she can transform the city of Westview (and all its people) into some kind of TV show. I know, it sounds weird – but I just try to put physics into practice. To keep most people out of their belief system, Wanda creates a sort of radiation field around the city, called Hex.
One of the people trying to figure out what’s going on with Westview is SWORD agent Monica Rambeau. After being chased by the Hex, Monica wants to come back and find out Wanda’s motivation. However, there is a problem: The Hex you do clothes to the people. In WandaVision, this radiation can make you think you’re in a 70’s sitcom or give you superpowers. (In the real world, radiation breaks down molecular bonds, including those in the cells of our body. For humans, it’s just bad).
In Monica’s case, she knew full well that she needed a certain type of radiation shield to pass – and she was working her calculations on a table. (Here you can see part of his calculations.)
So, as long as you also need to get into Westview, how can you calculate the amount of screening you need? Are these equations also legitimate? We find out.
What is Radiation, Anyway?
First, we need to understand what the “radiation” devil really is. Historically, people discovered radiation before they understood exactly what was going on. At first, they were classified into three categories: alpha, beta, gamma (uncreative). Alpha and beta radiation are particles that are emitted, often due to some type of nuclear reaction. Gamma rays are not particles, but rather a short wavelength of electromagnetic radiation.
Gamma rays are a type of electromagnetic wave — such as radio waves, visible light, and ultraviolet light. Technically, you can consider all electromagnetic waves as “radiation” – but it turns out that very short wavelengths are those that interact with your body’s cells at higher energy levels, which makes them more dangerous. . Not only can these rays deposit energy into human tissues, but they can also damage DNA and cause mutations. (It is very unlikely that gamma rays will transform you into a Hulk.)
All types of radiation are actually extremely different. The alpha particle is (relatively) heavy and positively charged, but the beta particle has a lower mass and can be negative or positively charged. Gamma rays are just oscillating electric and magnetic fields. There is also a fourth type, neutron radiation, which has no electric charge. It should be noted that neutrons were discovered long after the first three types of radiation, so this type did not receive a fresh Greek letter like the others.
How to Calculate Radiation Protection?
Now we need to calculate the amount of shielding needed for Monica’s mission past the hex field and into Westview. What do you think about using a pile of lead – it doesn’t stop the radiation? At least, that’s how you are stops at X-ray vision of Superman. (Yes, I know that Superman is in the DC Universe and not in the MCU.)
Lead does in fact stop radiation, but a shielding calculation is more complicated than slapping some thick lead walls. There are several important things to consider when calculating the thickness of a particular shield.