Talk:Ionizing radiation/Archive 2012

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Wikiproject Medicine

I don't know, but I have been told that document matters only if they are on pubmed. This pdf you are talking about doesn't look like a research report from pubmed.--Nenpog (talk) 01:58, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

That rule only applies to medical articles, and really only after they have reached a certain level of maturity, and there are plenty of exceptions. The main Wikipedia policy on the subject is Wikipedia:Verifiability.--Yannick (talk) 02:41, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems like someone made this into a medical article in May. Maybe this shouldn't be a medical article? --Nenpog (talk) 03:55, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I take it you're talking about the Wikiproject Medicine template. No, I see no good reason to remove that template. I suppose you could argue that the Biological Effects section is a medical section, but I still don't think we're ready to restrict the quality of the citations. There would be some work and discipline involved that I'm not willing to commit to. And we would still need to cite non-pubmed articles like ICRP 103 and BEIR VIII.
Look, Nenpog, I know you had the rulebook thrown at you early on, and I'm sorry for that. But by and large, Wikipedians are not sticklers for rules; we just try to do what makes the most sense. You were correct weeks ago when you said WP:MEDRS only describes what is ideal, and the other editors agreed with you on that. They just felt that their article was sufficiently mature and receives enough attention that they can afford to keep the bar that high. If you want to help bring up the Biological Effects section to that level, that would be awesome.--Yannick (talk) 10:54, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
It would seem to me that "Biological effects" should contain some health related human information (in which case we should be using WP:MEDRS for that information), but "biology" certain includes fields outside of human health which would not fall under MEDRS. I think we can all agree that we should be using high quality sources, no matter what the topic. Yobol (talk) 15:12, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Introduction needs to be slimmed down

The introduction has verbal diarrhea and needs a rewrite to reduce it to a reasonable size. There is much redundancy and prolix amateurish explanation, as well as some material that should be cut. Any volunteers? --ChetvornoTALK 12:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Since my entry above the intro has bloated up to 5 long paragraphs and will barely fit on my screen. WP:LEAD says intros for even the largest articles should not be more than 3-4 paras. The intro is supposed to be a simple summary for general readers. Many readers will just not have time for such long-winded writing and will give up on the article. For example, I'd suggest that the role of UV-B rays in forming pyrimidine dimers in DNA is information that could be relegated to the body of the article. --ChetvornoTALK 04:38, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Is it acceptable to agree with the OP on the state of the lede, while not accepting the re-write challenge? --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:52, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Sure, thanks. I'm not doing any rewriting either. I don't have the time or particular expertise in this area. I just thought if enough of us say it's needed that will give moral support to someone who wants to take on the job. --ChetvornoTALK 21:28, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Give me a bit of time to cut this. I can always reduce some bloat fairly quickly. SBHarris 00:13, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Just want to say I think the introduction looks much better now, a little shorter and more to the point. Great work. --ChetvornoTALK 16:36, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Beneficial effects of low or controlled doses

The idea that low or controlled doses can have beneficial effects is both unclear and controversial. What beneficial effects are there? Most governmental and international agencies I am aware of say the damaging effects are linear, with no minimum given. Various groups within the nuclear energy industry have promoted the idea that there are beneficial effects, but I have not seen a good study illustrating this. The idea of beneficial effects needs to be explained and references need to be given. --ghh 14:49, 22 August 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by George H. Harvey (talkcontribs)

It is not clear to me what a "low" dose is. Low compared to what? I've changed the sentance

"Ionizing radiation is generally harmful and potentially lethal to living things, but low or controlled doses can have beneficial effects." to "Ionizing radiation is generally harmful and potentially lethal to living things but can have health benefits in radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer and thyrotoxicosis"

because those are the only ionizing radiation exposures that have been shown to cause a health benefit. Does anyone know of others?Stephen David Williams (talk) 23:05, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

  1. Medical imaging, which improves diagnostic accuracy and treatment effectiveness
  2. The hypothetical hormetic effect
These items were explained at the end of the very same paragraph that you edited.--Yannick (talk) 15:03, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

Cherenkov reactor - inappropriate

I'm wondering how come the picture of the Čerenkov is on the page of IONIZING radiation.

If nothing else there should be a note that this glow of light is because of EM radiation, not ionizing. The whole concept of radiation is somewhat confusing if you're not an expert on the subject, so I think it should either be removed or properly tagged, to avoid misconception. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:17, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

The Čerenkov glow of light IS electromagnetic radiation CAUSED by ionizing radiation. It is only observed in the presence of ionizing radiation. This picture is as close to representing ionizing radiation as any other picture on Wikipedia. If you think about it, ALL pictures are just electromagnetic radiation representing real things. This is not a pipe, it is a picture of a pipe.--Yannick (talk) 14:42, 4 November 2012 (UTC)


A response was given in a recent edit summary: "Cerenkov radiation really isn't a good illustration for ionizing radiation, as it isn't due to ionization! A glowing plasma tube dischange would be much better." I don't much mind the actual edit, but when there's an active discussion, please comment on the talk page.--Yannick (talk) 14:31, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Although Cerenkov radiation is not due to ionization, it is another effect of ionizing radiation. It occurs when charged particles (not just electrons) move faster than their phase velocity, in which case they will always have enough kinetic energy to qualify as ionizing radiation. And since photons and neutrons produce secondary betas, some Cerenkov radiation will can occur with any type of ionizing radiation. In other words, cerenkov occurs only and always in the presence ionizing radiation, unless an experiment has been specifically contrived to produce an exception. Cerenkov radiation is the first visual indicator of the presence of high intensity ionizing radiation in nuclear reactors, criticality accidents, and nuclear explosions. It Blue glow is well known in the nuclear industry as the glow of ionizing radiation. The glowing reactor picture is absolutely a good an illustration of ionizing radiation. A typical plasma tube would be confusing, since no significant ionizing radiation escapes the tube.--Yannick (talk) 14:31, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
You never see Cerenkov radiation in air. Though cosmic rays cause it, it's too weak to see by eye. You're wrong about nuclear explosions and criticality accidents--that blue glow actually is caused by blue light from air ionization. See here. Also the blue light from highly radioactive elements like Po, and from particle beams in air. In fact the wiki on Ionized-air glow has a cyclotron photo tthat would be useful in this article, as it is a photo of ionization glow actually produced by ionizing radiation. Cerenkov radiation is rare--basically it's a phenomena only grossly seen in transparent liquids and solids with high energy betas that have many thousand times the needed energy to ionize. Other media and nearly all other types and energies of ionizing radiation don't show it. It's a sort of vaguely associated thing, and very insensitive for reasons discussed. It's dramatic but equally dramatic effects more directly caused by ionizing radiation are known.SBHarris 18:05, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I did get carried away with my argument, and I've corrected it above. I do like your particle accelerator picture much better, and I agree we should use that one. It has the right blue glow. Thank you for correcting me.--Yannick (talk) 18:47, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Definition of X-ray vs. gamma

I wish it were so simple that modern science always uses X-ray for non-nuclear sources and gamma for nuclear sources. Some references say that but they are more speaking of their ideals than of practice. The problem with the "origination" definition is that astronomers can't use it always since they often don't know the explicit origin of high energy photons. So astronomers use an energy definition and call anything of high enough energy a gamma ray. That includes radiation they know surely does not come from nuclei since it is too energetic (> 20 MeV) or too powerful (see gamma ray burst). The only rule all specialties follow is that known nuclear origin photons are called gamma rays. For photons of other origin, it completely depends on whose literature you read. See gamma-ray astronomy for more.SBHarris 04:41, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

I hear you. I don't really like the origination definition either, but put it in based on what I read in gamma ray#General characteristics. That section suggests that energy definitions are old, and declares that current prevailing definitions are "usually" by origin. This was backed up by a number of cites which I copied without re-evaluating. I don't really want to copy the entire gamma ray#Naming conventions and overlap in terminology section into ionizing radiation, for length and readability reasons. We need a way to summarize the key points into this article without turning it into a whole book. Would you like to take a stab at it?--Yannick (talk) 16:57, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Ionization energy

I'm confused about the "ionization energy of air." In the context of radiation, this is commonly quoted as 33-34 eV, but lower numbers are used in chemical contexts. From my research, the first and second ionization energies of atomic nitrogen are about 15 and 30 eV. The first ionization energy of molecular nitrogen is 16 eV. The bond energy of diatomic nitrogen is about 10 eV. So how do we get to 33-34? I found that the second ionization energy of atomic oxygen, 34 eV, seems coincidentally similar. But why would oxygen be more relevant than nitrogen?

Here's the clearest explanation I've found to date:

The average energy expended in air per ion pair formed W is the quotient of E by N, where N is the mean number of ion pairs formed when the initial kinetic energy E of a charged particle is completely dissipated in air. (W=E/N) The current best estimate for the average value of W is 33.97 eV/ion pair.

But why?--Yannick (talk) 18:48, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

The latter number is heavily influenced by the efficiency of turning kinetic E of charged particles into potential E of forming ions. It's 40 to 50% and I'm amazed it's that high. The rest goes into impact molecule velocity increase which is more directly dissipated as heat without ever resulting in charge separation. BTW, pay no attention to bond energies, as a split bond results in free radicals with no charge; ionization takes more E. Also photonic ionization is more efficient than charged particle ionization. SBHarris 02:26, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Automated archiving

I'm thinking of setting up automated archiving on this page. I would use slow parameters: keep the last 90 days and the last 10 threads. Any thoughts?--Yannick (talk) 17:25, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Seeing no objections, I've gone ahead and set it up. It should take a day to archive, another day for search indexing, and then there might be a couple of threads that still need to be archived manually.--Yannick (talk) 04:42, 2 December 2012 (UTC)