I’m huge A fan of El Alamein And the The Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s pretty cool when these two collide. This is exactly what happened in Episode 5 of WandaVision.
Here’s 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 do all kinds of cool things. But one thing that might not be so cool is that she can turn Westview City (and all of its people) into some kind of TV show. I know it sounds weird – but I’m just trying to setup the physics. In order to keep most people away from her fantasy show, Wanda creates a type of radiation field around town, called a Hex.
One of the people trying to figure out what’s going on with Westview is SWORD Agent Monica Rambo. After being fired by the Hex, Monica wants to go back and find out Wanda’s motives. However, there is a problem: The Hex does things for people. at WandaVision, This radiation can make you think you’re in a 70’s comedy series or give you superpowers. (In the real world, radiation corrupts molecular bonds, including those in the cells of our bodies. For humans, that’s just a bad thing.)
In Monica’s case, she wisely realized that she needed some kind of radiation protection to be able to get past it – and does her math on the board. (Here you can See part of her accounts.)
So, provided you also need to get into Westview, how are you going to calculate how much protection you’ll need? Are these equations even legitimate? Let’s find out.
What is radiation, anyway?
First, we have to understand what “radiation” actually is. Historically, people discovered radiation before they understood exactly what was going on. At first, they categorized it into three categories: alpha, beta, and gamma (not very creative). Alpha and beta radiation are particles that are emitted, often due to some kind of nuclear reaction. Gamma rays are not particles, but rather a short wavelength of electromagnetic radiation.
Gamma rays are a type of electromagnetic wave — just like radio waves, visible light and ultraviolet light. Technically, you could think of all electromagnetic waves as “radiation” – but it turns out that the very small wavelengths are those that interact with the body’s cells at higher energy levels, making them more dangerous. Not only can these rays deposit energy in human tissues, but they can also damage DNA and cause mutations. (It is unlikely that gamma rays will turn you into a hulk.)
In fact all types of radiation are very different. An alpha particle is (relatively) heavy and positively charged, but a beta particle has a lower mass and can be negative or positively charged. Gamma rays oscillate only 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 appeared, so this type did not receive such wonderful Greek letters as the others.
How do you calculate radiation protection?
We now need to calculate how much shielding is required for the Monica mission past the hex field to Westview. How about using a handful of lead – wouldn’t that stop the radiation? At least, that’s how you are Stop seeing Superman with X-rays. (Yes, I know Superman is in the DC Universe, not the MCU.)
Lead does indeed stop radiation, but the shielding calculation is more complicated than just slapping some thick lead walls. There are several important things to consider when calculating a particular armor thickness.