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he 20th century has been a time when science has taken an implosion when it comes to evolution. In order to prove certain theories you need to showcase experiments that are simple to understand. In the middle of the 20th century, the concept of ionizing radiation and even many radiations itself was quite foreign. This concept was brought into the mainstream with the creation of atomic bombs. The idea of these bombs in the simplest form is the release of a huge amount of energy in an extremely short period of time.

Understanding how Radiation works

This concept was brought into the mainstream with the creation of atomic bombs. The idea of these bombs in the simplest form is the release of a huge amount of energy in an extremely short period of time. This occurs through the process called fission or in other words when a neutron collides with the nucleus of a heavy atom such as plutonium or uranium.

Energy travels in the form of photon waves of varied lengths, including long waves like radio waves and short waves like X-rays and gamma-rays. Visible wavelengths exist between long and short waves and contain energy that our eyes perceive as colors. According to Columbia University, gamma radiation is harmful to the human body because it can penetrate through clothing and skin, generating ionisations, or the loss of electrons, which destroy tissue and DNA.

Radiation heat transfer is accomplished by the use of electromagnetic waves. Radiation, unlike conduction and convection, does not require a medium for transmission. Solar radiation energy travels 93 million miles over space to warm the earth. Thermal energy is also transferred by radiation between things separated by a cooler medium.

During the Cold War when the concept of radiation really became famous due to the Arms Race, scientists wanted to show the power of radiation. Although Hiroshima and Nagasaki from World War II have been very convincing on the power of such weapons, people did not get that the radiation that is emitted by the process of ionizing radiation is much more deadly than the explosion itself. The heat produced by the process of fusion is so intense that is simply goes through you and thus why the shadows of Hiroshima exist.

A human shadow on the steps of a bank in Hiroshima, following the explosion of the nuclear bomb in August 1945. (Source: Universal History Archive)

The strong light and heat emitted as each bomb exploded spread out from the point of implosion. Objects and people in its path absorbed light and energy, shielding objects behind them. The light from the surrounding area bleached the concrete or stone around the “shadow.”

This comes from the energy emitted by the sun and for people to better understand how such Thermal Shadows are produced, a short experiment has been done where a man stands in front of intense natural heat and is recorded by a thermal camera. From only a few moments of standing in the same position, a thermal shadow is created behind the person. Have a look at the video to convince yourself.

This is the reason why you see two shadows in the first image, one of them is the real shadow whilst the other is the thermal shadow. Heat transmission via radiation occurs at the speed of light. When you cast a visible light shadow, you are also casting a thermal shadow, which disrupts the process. This is clearly visible in the video, as the human is preventing the sun’s heat from being absorbed by the wall. The combination of this, a cooling breeze, and a clear sky help the wall to cool.

His shadow follows him as he goes away! In reality, his shadow will remain for a few moments. To make things scarier, imagine that those were literally atoms going through the person’s body in order to reach the wall behind him or her to create the thermal shadow.

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