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What poses a radiation danger to air crews?

The answer is in this chapter.

Most people are well aware of the danger of nuclear radiation from radioactive building materials, nuclear plants, and (especially) nuclear weapons. However, most people are not aware that radiation is a concern in long airplane trips, not so much for the passengers as for the crew. Indeed, some flights are of more concern than others, and the total flight time per year of crew members on those flights is restricted by airline companies.

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Fig. 42-1 An arrangement (top view) used in Rutherford’s laboratory in 1911–1913 to study the scattering of α particles by thin metal foils. The detector can be rotated to various values of the scattering angle ϕ. The alpha source was radon gas, a decay product of radium. With this simple “tabletop” apparatus, the atomic nucleus was discovered.

42-1 What Is Physics?

Thus far in our exploration of the quantum amusement park, we have examined electrons trapped within various potential wells, including atoms, but we have largely neglected what lies at the center of an atom—the nucleus. For the last 90 years, a principal goal of physics has been to work out the quantum physics ...

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