Radiant Energy

Radiant energy exists in a range of wavelengths that extends from radio waves that many be thousands of meters long to gamma rays with wavelengths as short as a million-millionth (10-12) of a meter.

Over this long span, the only wavelengths that stimulate living things are

However, x-rays and gamma rays can be absorbed by DNA and damage it - causing mutations.

Link to a discussion of other sources of ionizing radiation.

Light makes possible a number of essential functions in living things:

Approximately one-half of the energy reaching the earth from the sun is light; that is, it is within the visible portion of the spectrum. The remainder arrives as heat and a small amount of ultraviolet light (which can, however, have a large effect on the aging of skin and the development of skin cancer).

Link to a discussion of radiation and cancer.

Welcome&Next Search

14 March 1999