Radiation vs Electromagnetic waves

We are surrounded by energy in our everyday lives. From the sun that shines, to the alarm clock that wakes you up, to the TV that you watch just before you go to sleep – they are all objects that emit energy in some form or the other. But it is vital to have a clear understanding of this phenomena to understand its impact on our lives.

Energy emitted from various sources, travel outwards in electromagnetic waves. This includes Radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and x rays. The key difference lies in the wavelength, which determines the strength of the radiated energy. This is what proves that all electromagnetic waves are a type of radiation, but not all types of radiation are electromagnetic. Radiation is a general term used for particles of energy self-propagating through a space. Electromagnetic waves on the other hand are formed by the radiation energy being absorbed by charged particles. EM(electromagnetic) waves is one of the important ways that energy is transported in the world around us.


It was in the 19th century, that physicists like Thomas Young, Michael Faraday and Henri Becquerel changed our perceived reality. There was an unseen world beyond what we saw. They found the connection between electricity and magnetism and classified Light, microwaves, x-rays, and TV and radio transmissions into forms of ‘electromagnetic wave’.


But the fact is that in today’s world, radiation is associated with something bad. We think of harmful and destructive rays. But the truth is that the discovery of how radiation works, and various forms of electromagnetic waves have gone a long way in helping mankind. We are now able to harness its power and tame it for our use. The key lies in understanding what types of radiations are bad for you an protect yourself from it.

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