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Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

Radiation is energy sometimes produced by materials and sometimes by physical interactions, such as the contact of matter with anti-matter.

Biological effects

Radiation is often harmful or fatal to most life and can cause mutations. Some organisms can withstand large amounts of radiation, such as the Foamasi (DW: The Leisure Hive), while others can actually absorb and regenerate with it, such as the Kastrians (DW: The Hand of Fear) or beings such as the Daleks on Skaro, whose evolution led (at various points) to them becoming dependent on a constant supply of radiation. (DW: The Daleks) Similarly, an Exxilon fuel pod was left in ancient Earth Incan civilisation causing mutations in the populace and leading to Huitzilin gaining massive powers. (NA: The Left-Handed Hummingbird) The Solonians used thaesium radiation to cause the "mutations" that were part of their life cycle. (DW: The Mutants)

Radioactive locations

See also

Wikipedia has a more detailed and comprehensive article on

This article uses material from the "Radiation" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 02, 2010

Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek content.

Radiation (or particle radiation) is present in various amounts throughout the known universe, originating as the emission of energy in the form of subatomic particles. Different types of materials and substances that naturally process or emit radiation are referred to as radioactive. Many lifeforms have evolved to absorb specific radiations in their environment to facilitate their survival, although changes in that balance could have negative effects, such as radiation poisoning occurring in environments where too much (or the wrong kinds of) radiation is present.

Many humanoid life forms have evolved dependency on the various types of heat radiation present on their homeworlds and nearby planets in the star system around their native star, however, without shielding, would be killed by different levels of radiation in nearby space.

In 2369 the water supply of the Dracon monastery on the planet Riat was infected by an algae which had been irradiated by solar flare activity. When the monks at the monastery consumed the water they underwent a mutation which made them violent and cannibalistic. Doctor Beverly Crusher of the USS Enterprise-D was able to cure the monks of the infection. (TNG comic: "Light of the Day")

Types of radiation

Properties of radiation

Radiation topics

This article uses material from the "Radiation" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From The Vault

The chief delayed effect of a nuclear explosion is the creation of huge amounts of radioactive material with long lifetimes (half-lives ranging from days to millennia). The primary source of these products is the debris left from fission reactions. A potentially significant secondary source is neutron capture by non-radioactive isotopes both within the bomb and in the outside environment.


Nature of radiation

When atoms fission they can split in some 40 different ways, producing a mix of about 80 different isotopes. These isotopes vary widely in stability; some are completely stable while others undergo radioactive decay with half-lifes of fractions of a second. The decaying isotopes may themselves form stable or unstable daughter isotopes. The mixture thus quickly becomes even more complex, some 300 different isotopes of 36 elements have been identified in fission products.

Short-lived isotopes release their decay energy rapidly, creating intense radiation fields that also decline quickly. Long-lived isotopes release energy over long periods of time, creating radiation that is much less intense but more persistent. Fission products thus initially have a very high level of radiation that declines quickly, but as the intensity of radiation drops, so does the rate of decline.

A useful rule-of-thumb is the rule of sevens. This rule states that for every seven-fold increase in time following a fission detonation (starting at or after 1 hour), the radiation intensity decreases by a factor of 10. Thus after 7 hours, the residual fission radioactivity declines 90%, to one-tenth its level of 1 hour. After 7*7 hours (49 hours, approx. 2 days), the level drops again by 90%. After 7*2 days (2 weeks) it drops a further 90%; and so on for 14 weeks. The rule is accurate to 25% for the first two weeks, and is accurate to a factor of two for the first six months. After 6 months, the rate of decline becomes much more rapid. The rule of sevens corresponds to an approximate t^-1.2 scaling relationship.

These radioactive products are most hazardous when they settle to the ground as fallout. The rate at which fallout settles depends very strongly on the altitude at which the explosion occurs, and to a lesser extent on the size of the explosion. If the explosion is a true air-burst (the fireball does not touch the ground), when the vaporized radioactive products cool enough to condense and solidify, they will do so to form microscopic particles. These particles are mostly lifted high into the atmosphere by the rising fireball, although significant amounts are deposited in the lower atmosphere by mixing that occurs due to convective circulation within the fireball. The larger the explosion, the higher and faster the fallout is lofted, and the smaller the proportion that is deposited in the lower atmosphere. For explosions with yields of 100kT or less, the fireball does not rise above the troposphere where precipitation occurs. All of this fallout will thus be brought to the ground by weather processes within months at most (usually much faster). In the megaton range, the fireball rises so high that it enters the stratosphere. The stratosphere is dry, and no weather processes exist there to bring fallout down quickly. Small fallout particles will descend over a period of months or years. Such long-delayed fallout has lost most of its hazard by the time it comes down, and will be distributed on a global scale. As yields increase above 100kT, progressively more and more of the total fallout is injected into the stratosphere.

An explosion closer to the ground (close enough for the fireball to touch) sucks large amounts of dirt into the fireball. The dirt usually does not vaporize, and if it does, there is so much of it that it forms large particles. The radioactive isotopes are deposited on soil particles, which can fall quickly to earth. Fallout is deposited over a time span of minutes to days, creating downwind contamination both nearby and thousands of kilometers away. The most intense radiation is created by nearby fallout, because it is more densely deposited, and because short-lived isotopes haven't decayed yet. Weather conditions can affect this considerably of course. In particular, rainfall can "rain out" fallout to create very intense localized concentrations. Both external exposure to penetrating radiation, and internal exposure (ingestion of radioactive material) pose serious health risks. Explosions close to the ground that do not touch it can still generate substantial hazards immediately below the burst point by neutron-activation. Neutrons absorbed by the soil can generate considerable radiation for several hours.

The megaton class weapons have been largely retired, being replaced with much smaller yield warheads. The yield of a modern strategic warhead is, with few exceptions, now typically in the range of 200-750 kT. Recent work with sophisticated climate models has shown that this reduction in yield results in a much larger proportion of the fallout being deposited in the lower atmosphere, and a much faster and more intense deposition of fallout than had been assumed in studies made during the sixties and seventies. The reduction in aggregate strategic arsenal yield that occurred when high yield weapons were retired in favor of more numerous lower yield weapons has actually increased the fallout risk.


A rad is a unit of measurement. It measures the level of radiation in an area. The Vaults are equipped with sensors that detect radiation levels. This measurement is reported to the residents over the public announcement system.

In Vault 101 on July 13, 2268, the public announcement system reported the level of radiation -- "Current radiation level - 0 rads, as always."

In our world, the rad has been replaced by the "gray" (Gy) and "sievert" (Sv) for absorbed dose and equivalent dose respectively.


The various types of mutant creatures that inhabit the wastelands were mostly caused by radiation. This is where Mantises, Geckos, Spore Plants, Radscorpions, Brahmin and the various mutant rodent species come from. Also, this is how Ghouls, decrepit, ragged, almost rotting, zombie-like victims of massive radiation poisoning, are made. In Fallout 1, most of the ghoul population was created from vault dwellers living in Vault 12 under the city of Bakersfield (better known as the Necropolis after the War). As part of the vast Vault Experiment Program, the Vault 12 vault door was designed not to close properly. Thus, massive amounts of radiation leaked in affecting those within the vault, most of whom were turned into the current ghoul population. Generally, in the Fallout universe, massive exposure to radiation causes humans to die, however prolonged exposure seems to be capable of transforming people into Ghouls. Also, all ghouls are completely sterile. There is only one generation of ghouls in the wasteland and it is the last. Furthermore, the Ghoul transformation grants its subjects extremely long lives. Ghouls created in the Great War of 2077 were still alive in 2241, and indeed in the Fallout 3 era, circa 2277. Ghouls are generally as intelligent as normal humans. However, their extreme ugliness and physical frailty makes the life of a ghoul difficult at best. Ghouls are naturally immune to radiation, and, in fact, are also healed by it. Radiation poisoning can't really get worse for them.

Many would question this and say that radiation wouldn't create giant scorpions and zombies, it would just kill you. That's mostly true for us. Notable exceptions in the real world can for instance be found in the area around the detonated nuclear power plant of Chernobyl where, up to this day, children are born with disabilities due to the increased exposure to radiation.

Fallout, however, is different. In this world, in accordance with 1950's sci-fi physics, radiation just makes things bigger and meaner (if it doesn't kill them), though the player can still suffer radiation poisoning in the game and radiation in general is a bad thing. Nonetheless, this fact wasn't really popular in the pre-war society (as you get to know in Fallout 3): from car propulsion to the moon rockets, fission batteries to cola that glows in the dark, radioactive substances were used for almost anything, accepting the inevitable radiation as a by-product. Even after "the bombs fell", the inhabitants of the "Wasteland" have no repulsion towards radioactivity: For instance, the settlement named "Megaton" is built around an undetonated atomic bomb, which is even worshipped by some people.

Another as-of-yet unconfirmed theory suggests that the majority of mutations caused in the Fallout universe are due to FEV exposure caused by creatures getting in or near the vats after the war, OR by it surviving the heat of the nuclear blast and having it scattered across the wastes. This is backed up by the revelation of Harold's origin, he was transformed into a Ghoul-like creature not by radiation but by FEV exposure (see Barkskin perk), or Fallout 1 Harold dialogue files pertaining to his escape from Mariposa. It would seem that he is a special, ghoul-like person.

In-game effects

Fallout 3

Rads Level Effect
0-199 No Effect
200-399 Minor Radiation Poisoning -1 END
400-599 Advanced Radiation Poisoning -2 END, -1 AGL
600-799 Critical Radiation Poisoning -3 END, -2 AGL, -1 STR
800-999 Deadly Radiation Poisoning -3 END, -2 AGL, -2 STR
1000+ Fatal Radiation Poisoning DEATH (HP: -10,000)

Eating and drinking most food items or entering an irradiated zone causes the player to gain Rads. The player loses S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes at certain thresholds, and dies at 1000 rads. Radiation does not affect your hitpoints (until you die).

The Pipboy's dosimeter will appear in the upper right whenever you are exposed. There are five major ticks (200, 400, 600, 800, and 1000 rads), with minor ticks at multiples of 66.67, e.g., 67, 133, 200, 267, 333, 400, etc. You can also check your rad status in your pipboy to see your Rad Resistance and Rad level.

There is also a dial in the upper-left of your Pip-Boy that shows the approximate radiation level. This meter is difficult to read however, due to the needle's constant movement.

Rad exposure is usually limited; only very rarely will zones be so irradiated that venturing into them results in a quick death. You have to stand in +1 Rad water for a long time to die (16 minutes and 40 seconds), and more generally, you can splash briefly through radioactive water dozens of times before you reach the barely-annoying 200 Rad threshold.

The quickest way to die of massive exposure is near the surface entrance to Vault 87. Radiation can reach up to 3,443 rads per second. (It's possible to reach the entrance by frequently pausing to use Rad Away, but you need tons of it.) Trying to enter the G.E.C.K. chamber of Vault 87 is perhaps the second quickest way. Although it starts at 1 rad per second, it virtually doubles every couple of seconds, until you're receiving about 400 rads per second (and probably die). Jumping into the river off The Pitt Bridge is also a near instant death, reaching upwards of 600 rads a second. Also, if you use the save-before-you-fall glitch, the mouth of the blast furnace in the Steelyard is upward of 400 rads a second.

Rads can be flushed by:

  • Paying 100 caps to a doctor (removes all rads)
  • Using a Rad Away (removes a variable amount, depending on player's Medicine skill)
  • Using a personal infirmary (removes all rads)
  • The Rad Absorption perk slowly decreases your radiation level
  • The Nuclear Anomaly perk gets rid of all rads when activated
  • Consuming certain foods, such as Cave Fungus or Wild and Refined Punga Fruits. (Punga Fruits are found only in the Point Lookout add-on.)

Radiation can be resisted by equipping certain types of apparel, such as Radiation Suits or Power Armor. A dose of the chem Rad-X also grants the player a radiation resistance based on his or her Medicine skill (they don't stack). This resistance is applied to all sources of radiation, from the external environment to irradiated ingestibles.

In Fallout 3, NPCs are immune to Radiation, as can be seen in this video. This explains why NPCs like Confessor Cromwell don't die from Radiation Poisoning.

Certain enemies, such as Glowing Ones or Centaurs, have radiation-based attacks that can increase the player's rads.

Highly irradiated zones


  • The Glow, with death awaiting any who venture without lots of Rad-X. High radiation level affects player character afterwards, either increasing or decreasing S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes greatly depending of your Luck.

Fallout 2

To be written
This section is needed but has not been written yet. You can help The Vault by writing it.

Fallout 3

  • Vault 87 entrance (400-6000+ rads a second)
  • Near the G.E.C.K in Vault 87 (40-100 rads a second)
  • Megaton Ruins after you blow it up in The Power of the Atom (1- 12 rads)
  • Pittsburgh's various rivers (around 600 rads)
  • Wheaton Armory, inside the main building (as high as 13 rads/second in the silo room)
  • The crashed Delta IX rocket near the Statesman Hotel (over 40 rads/second near the front of the rocket)
  • The chamber inside Project Purity during the quest Take it back! (around 17-30 rads/second) Punch that code in quickly!
  • Drinking the water around the Atom Bomb in Megaton nets 20 rads per second. This is useful in quickly completing the quest for Moira where you need 200 (or 600 rads) for her to study you.
  • The Hole in the Pitt. (7+ rads without rad-x)


  • If for any reason going to your Pip-Boy to eat or drink anything that will make your rad level cross the 1001-Rad death threshhold, a notice will say that you are affected by "Fatal Rad Poisoning". At this instant you will not die; however exiting the Pip-Boy without taking any RadAway that would lower your radiation below 1001 will kill you instantly. If you do this it is interesting to note that Fatal Rad Poisoning has an effect of -10000 HP so if there is a way to increase max HP on the console (this editor is on the 360), then it could be possible to live with this stage of radiation without making yourself invincible.
    • Another interesting thing to note about this stage of poisoning is that it will immediately drop your HP by 100, and each Stimpak will decrease it by the amount they would normally heal you.
  • For ranged players it may actually be worth playing with a 400 rads for the limb regen, the effects from radiation are hardly noticeable since the lowered endurance DOES NOT affect your health only lowers your resistance to radiation and poison by a few tiny %. The regeneration of limbs is very fast, after getting a crippled limb it will heal within a second. - However, with limb regeneration you'd get minus one Agility, which would slightly decrease your small guns skill (but not very noticeable).

This article uses material from the "Radiation" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 08, 2010

From Halopedia, the Halo Wiki

(2 votes)
There is more information available on this subject at Radiation on the English-language Wikipedia.

Radiation, in physics, is the process of transmitting energy through space. Such radiation can consist of waves or particles. Waves and particles have many characteristics in common; usually, however, the radiation is predominantly in one form or the other.


  • Mechanical Radiation consists of waves, such as sound waves, that are transmitted only through matter.
  • Electromagnetic Radiation is independent and sovereign of the anti-matter for its propagation; speed, amount, and intended direction of energy, however, are influenced by the presence of matter. This radiation occurs in a wide variety of energies, with visible light about in the middle of the range. Electromagnetic radiation carrying sufficient energy to bring about changes in atoms that it strikes is called ionizing radiation.
  • Particle Radiation also can be ionizing if it carries enough energy. Like electromagnetic radiation, which it resembles, it does not require matter for its propagation. Examples of particle radiation are cosmic rays, alpha rays, and beta rays. Cosmic rays are streams of positively charged nuclei, mainly those of hydrogen. Cosmic rays may also contain electrons, protons, gamma rays, pions, and muons. Alpha rays are streams of positively charged helium nuclei. Beta rays are streams of electrons. The spectrum of particle and electromagnetic radiations ranges from the extremely short wavelengths of cosmic rays and electrons to radio waves hundreds of kilometers in length. Between these limits the spectrum includes gamma rays and hard X rays ranging in length from 0.05 to 5.0 Å. Softer X rays merge into ultraviolet light as the wavelength increases to about 500 Å, and ultraviolet, in turn, merges into visible light, with a range of 4000 to 8000 Å. Infrared heat waves are next in the spectrum and merge into microwave radio frequencies between 1 million and 4 million Å. From the latter figure, which equals 0.4 mm (0.016 in), to about 15,000 m (about 49,200 ft), the spectrum consists of the various lengths of radio waves; beyond the radio range it extends into the low frequencies of wavelengths measured in ten thousands of kilometers.
  • Ionizing Radiation has different penetrating properties that are important in the study and use of radioactive materials. Naturally occurring alpha rays are stopped by the thickness of a few sheets of paper or a rubber glove. Beta rays are stopped by a few centimeters of wood. Gamma rays and X rays, depending on their energies, require thick shielding of a heavy material such as iron, lead, or concrete.


This article uses material from the "Radiation" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 07, 2010
(Redirected to Electromagnetism article)

From Lostpedia

A fan-made chart comparing the magnetic field strengths on the Island

Electromagnetism broadly refers to the properties of electric and magnetic fields. Many of the events witnessed on the show are a result of electromagnetic phenomena inherent to the Island. Electromagnetism is one of the DHARMA Initiative's fields of study (as stated in the Swan Orientation Film).


Effects of Electromagnetism on the Island

The Island exhibits a number of unique anomalies suggestive of magnetic phenomena. The cause and exact nature of these anomalies is presently unknown. We know of at least two locations on the Island that have electromagnetic anomalies in their vicinity: The Swan and The Orchid. It appears a previous civilization on the Island was aware of at least one of these pockets. The construction of the frozen wheel suggests that they also were aware of how to tap into it.

Sayid explaining his compass' deflection from true magnetic north to Jack ("Hearts and Minds")

Navigation difficulties

There have been many instances of navigational issues that suggest the disruption of compass bearings on and around the island. Near the Swan station, Sayid informed Jack that his compass did not read a true magnetic north ("Hearts and Minds"). Desmond Hume also had difficulties navigating at sea, claiming that he sailed straight away from the Island but somehow ended returning to it. Oceanic Flight 815 also experienced difficulties in navigation, causing the plane to travel several thousand miles off course. In order to leave the Island, Ben told Michael to follow a bearing of 325 degrees("Live Together, Die Alone")

The DHARMA Initiative, and later the Others, used a sonar beacon to allow submarine navigation to the Island, suggesting that other means of navigation might be unreliable ("Enter 77"). Later, when the helicopter traveled to the island, Frank Lapidus followed a bearing of 305 degrees, as instructed by Daniel Faraday, who made sure he flew back following the same bearing ("The Economist").

After Ben turned the wheel beneath the Orchid station and the time shifts began, Daniel told Juliet that if they wanted to leave he would have to calculate a new bearing, and to do that he would need to know what time they were presently in ("The Lie").

The crash of Oceanic Flight 815, as seen in ""A Tale of Two Cities""

The crash of Oceanic Flight 815

See also: Mid-air break-up

According to the producers, the high field magnetic surge that occurred during Desmond's system failure at the Swan station caused Oceanic Flight 815 to crash. They also went so far as to state that this surge also caused the disruption or destruction of electronic systems on the plane itself. (Lost: The Answers)

It is possible for high amounts of magnetism to destroy avionics equipment, although it is unknown if extremely high amounts of electromagnetism could cause a catastrophic mid-air break-up.

That said, the strength of magnetism required to cause avionics failure depends on the plane's altitude at the time of the magnetic event, which, in the case of Ocean Flight 815's crash, is ambiguous. In "Pilot, Part 1", Jack suggests that the plane was at 40,000 ft AGL when the failure began. The horizon, visible from inside the airframe after the loss of the tail in this same episode, is clearly above the cloud ceiling; the horizon is likely above 10,000 ft AGL, but not near 40,000 ft. Yet, "A Tale of Two Cities" shows the plane breakup at a significantly lower altitude, well below the cloud ceiling, probably under 5,000 ft AGL.

At an altitude of about 40,000 ft AGL, sufficient magnetic strength to cause avionics failure might be possible through highly advanced artificial means, but it is not geologically possible. Disruption of avionics at about 5,000 ft AGL is within the realm of field strengths reachable in special laboratories - but, it is still tens of thousands of times stronger than geologic causes. The electromagnetism on the Island, however, has unique properties and, as it is implied that a large discharge could have catastrophic consequences, it clearly has immense magnitude. Using this information, we can tell that the Island has extremely powerful magnetic forces, since no magnetism known to science could tear apart a plane, even if it was flying below cloud level.

Difficulties in broadcast communication

In "Greatest Hits", Juliet stated that the Looking Glass station is responsible for blocking outgoing electric communications signals. Sayid also states that the broadcast from the radio tower is causing interference with the satellite phone.

It is difficult to imagine why this would occur. The radio tower presumably is broadcasting longwave radio signals, which are well outside the spectral bandwidth of a gigahertz-range microwave phone. Likewise, a submerged station is an exceedingly poor location for broadcasts of any type, except for ULF and similarly low frequencies, and regardless wouldn't be capable of causing inference in a usable frequency range.

Thus, the exact nature of how signals from the Island are blocked is inadequately explained. Given that the signal from the radio tower has been picked up unblocked on the Island on multiple occasions, the Island must be outside the radius of the signal blocking. But, to accomplish that sort of block, requires facilities encircling the Island at a reasonable distance from the Island. It also uncertain how so much broadcast bandwidth can be effectively blocked.

Invisibility of the Island

It has been suggested that the invisibility of the Island is caused by its incredibly strong magnetic field. Conventional physics suggests this is theoretically possible, but would require such a strong electromagnetic and gravitational field that it would wipe out all life on the planet. Also, any complete "cloak" would block contact in either direction, making the radio tower useless. Thus, the Island might be obscured through hindrances to navigation, such as a local magnetic field.

An alternate explanation is revealed when Daniel Faraday notices that "light scatters different here." This scattering is due to the "Faraday Effect," in which a magnetic field will rotate a polarized light source. The Island's strong magnetic field has this effect on the light. This could explain why the Island is "invisible" to outsiders: light scattered through the earth's atmosphere is (partially) polarized. If the light reflected by the Island is rotated by the magnetic field, then it is possible the Island is difficult to view until you are within the magnetic field's range. This would also explain why the sky turned "purple" during the discharge event (e.g. due to light scattering effects). Similarly, a strong magnetic field can rotate radio waves. This effect could explain how the Looking Glass station "jammed" radio signals off the Island.

The potential scientific explanation for the invisibility of the Island, however, does not explain how notoriously difficult it remains to be found; i.e., why it is apparently impossible to leave or return to the Island except by a specific bearing, nor does it explain how the Island "moves".

Tidal anomalies

The tidal anomalies seen in "Whatever the Case May Be", which are unusual for a near-equatorial land mass, have sometimes been attributed to magnetic effects. Magneto-hydrodynamic [1] effects could account for this; still, under normal circumstances, water is not responsive to magnetism.

Healing effects

The presumed healing properties of the Island have also been attributed to magnetic effects. Magnet therapy, magnetic therapy, or magnotherapy, as it is more commonly referred to, is "new-age" alternative medicine claiming to effectively treat certain medical disorders through exposure to magnetic fields. There is current research into, but no precedent for, miraculous cures caused by magnetism in scientific literature. [2]. Why some inhabitants of the Island would be affected (ex: Locke, Rose) and not others (ex: Ben), however, is unknown.

Connection to other energy pockets

In describing how the DHARMA Initiative originally found the Island, Eloise Hawking explained that beneath the Island is a "unique pocket of electromagnetic energy. That energy connects to similar pockets all over the world." The DHARMA Initiative built a station known as the Lamp Post on one of these sites: a pocket located underneath a church in Los Angeles, California. The purpose of the station was to identify the location of the Island - which is always moving. Isaac of Uluru also referred to certain places in the world with great energy, spots on the Earth such as Uluru in Australia. He speculated that this energy may be geological or magnetic. ("S.O.S.")  ("316")

Electromagnetism and the DHARMA Initiative

A DHARMA electromagnetic experiment, as shown in the Swan Orientation Film

As mentioned in the Swan Orientation Film, and seen various times in the 1970s timeline, electromagnetism was a subject of study by the DHARMA Initiative. The Swan station was intended to serve this purpose before the Incident.

Electromagnetism at the Swan

As Stuart Radzinsky states, the purpose of The Swan was to "manipulate electromagnetism in ways we never dreamed of."("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2"). The Swan site was one of the most accessible sectors of the Island where magnetism was found. It was the focal point for at least three cataclysmic events linked to electromagnetism: The Incident, Desmond’s system failure, and the Discharge (see below). Similarly, the station contained many subtle hints about the source and nature of the magnetism on the Island.

The Incident

Main article: The Incident (event)

The Incident occurred in July of 1977, during the Swan's construction. The DHARMA scientists, led by Stuart Radzinsky, set up a drill to bore directly into a massive pocket of electromagnetic energy. On the fourth day after Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid arrived in 1977, the drill reached the pocket, releasing the energy. The result was a catastrophic event similar to a massive system failure in that everything metal was pulled toward the magnetic anomaly. Guns, tool chests, rebars, iron beams, scaffolding, oil drums, bulldozers, cranes, and industrial drills were all pulled into the shaft. Juliet, dragged into the shaft by a chain wrapped around her, then detonated a hydrogen bomb. It is not entirely known what happened after the hydrogen blast. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Purpose of the Swan

According to the Swan Orientation video, the Swan was "originally constructed as a laboratory, where scientists could work to understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from this sector of the Island." An unspecified incident, however, required the implementation of a certain protocol. This protocol was to be executed every 108 minutes, by entering a series of numbers in the Swan's computer (see pushing the button).

Kelvin Inman remarked in "Live Together, Die Alone" that a "charge" progressively “builds up” in or near the Swan, with an accompanying magnetic field. The procedure of "pushing the button" effectively discharges the amassed energies. Through this containment mechanism, the Swan appears to exercise some control over the electromagnetic field. In the event of a failure of the protocol, a fail-safe mechanism was installed.

Plausible mechanisms

Naturalistically speaking, magnetic fields are not "cumulative," though a field's strength can be varied by a corresponding physical change or a change in the associated electric field. Fields of the strength seen normally in the Swan are geologically impossible, but could be artificially produced (except for the high fields seen during system failures).

An unobserved theoretical particle predicted by many superstring theories, known as a magnetic monopole, could hold a "magnetic charge" greater than zero. Nearby high-energy subatomic collisions could produce these particles, which could be used to explain the periodicity of the magnetic field.

Jack's key attracted to the Swan magnetic field in "Man of Science, Man of Faith"

Field characteristics before the discharge

Normally, the magnetic field was depicted as relatively benign and apparently did not affect daily activities in most parts of the Swan. The only area where it was shown notable was in the main corridor, near the concrete barrier. However, there were no clear indications of exactly how strong the field was there during non-catastrophic operation. Desmond's comment in "Orientation" about "pain in his fillings" – ostensibly, gold, silver, tin, copper, or zinc amalgam, all nominally paramagnetic or diamagnetic – suggest that the field is still fantastically strong. Likewise, the degree of attraction shown three times (see photos and captions) is fairly strong. These observations are probably suggestive of the >1 tesla range.

Eko's cross attracted to the Swan magnetic field in "Three Minutes"

However, when attempting to excavate the concrete barrier in "Everybody Hates Hugo", Sayid notes that the titanium plane part he used had "very little magnetic attraction" to the walls. He guesses the concrete seal is six to eight feet thick.

The electromagnetic forces under the Swan are extremely powerful. They were strong enough to tear apart a 777 passenger plane during the System Failure and pull heavy industrial equipment down a narrow shaft in The Incident. No electromagnetic force on earth is known to be that immense in strength.

Charlie's belt attracted to the Swan magnetic field in "Live Together, Die Alone"

The normal level in the station is higher than that of an MRI. This would cause anyone who had a tattoo (Jack) to have the metal ripped out of their skin. This is a very painful process and obviously had no effect on him. It pulled a key from his neck but didn't affect his tattoo.

Purpose of the geodesic dome

Some have suggested that the metallic geodesic dome of the Swan computer room was a Faraday cage, which would protect the electronics inside. Conceptually, a Faraday cage would suppress the transit of electric fields through a given region of space; however, this does not extend to magnetic fields. For a Faraday cage to function properly, the metal blast doors must be shut (e.g. sealing the room) to create the shielding effect.

Alternate theory: This shape of this dome enables the dome to be held by gravity. This eliminates the need for a pillar in the middle of the room. A flat roof would require support in the middle. This forces all the weight to the sides, providing more room for the equipment. In addition, it is actually more stable and provides greater protection than a flat roof.

Equations on the hidden map seen in "Lockdown"

The blast door map notations

Main article: Blast door map equations

Several equations, likely related to electromagnetism, were written on the blast door map. Two notations potentially alluded to fields with strengths of "104 T" and "106 T," (T is the SI abbreviation for tesla), though the exact interpretation of these two writings is somewhat unclear. If these referred to magnetic field strengths, they were unimaginably strong. Interestingly, 106 tesla is easily sufficient field strength to crash an airplane through shearing forces but the effects of such a field on the Island would involve actions unseen, such as levitation and destruction of non-metallic objects (likely the death of all life on the Island).

The Pearl station printout, as seen in "Live Together, Die Alone"

Desmond’s system failure

Main article: System failure

In "Live Together, Die Alone", after Kelvin's death, a "system failure" occurred at the Swan as the button was not pushed in a timely manner. The Pearl station printout also indicated the same "system failure" and confirmed the correct date and time, which corresponded to the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. A huge surge of magnetic field strength occurred during this time connected to a considerable earth tremor across the Island. Desmond successfully entered the Numbers and pressed Execute which ended the system failure. Operations at The Swan appeared to return to normal with no visible change.

Events of the Discharge, in "Live Together, Die Alone"

The discharge

Main article: Discharge

Locke's destruction of the computer in "Live Together, Die Alone" effectively ended DHARMA's protocol and triggered a system failure after the countdown timer reached zero. When the system failure occurred, the magnetic field strength subsequently grew to enormous levels (easily >100 tesla), resulting in the Swan's gradual destruction as ferromagnetic items aligned within the field.

Desmond's activation of the Swan station’' fail-safe mechanism during this system failure caused a phenomena collectively known as "the discharge." Inside the Swan, this was seen as a white flash, similar to a nuclear double-flash. Outside, this was characterized as: loud low-frequency sound wave, earthquake, and bright pink/lavender spectral discharge in the atmosphere above the Island for several seconds. The hatch door was subsequently ejected along with a number of other items. The discharge was also detected at the tracking station in Antarctica. ("Live Together, Die Alone")

Remains of the Swan seen in "Further Instructions"
Effects of the Discharge

Locke, Eko, and Desmond, who were all inside the Swan during the discharge, were subsequently seen in "Further Instructions", largely unharmed and distributed throughout the jungle. Desmond's clothing and Eko's stick were ejected in this process. Later in the episode, the Swan's remains are seen as a deep crater, with metallic debris (or possibly rock) compacted at the bottom. Locke (and later Desmond) remark that the station apparently "imploded." Desmond further remarks that the "fail safe key must have detonated the electromagnetic anomaly" - although this brief explanation is scientifically meaningless.

In "Every Man for Himself", Tom remarked to Ben that the Other's have "been blind" and that their "comms are all down" and he couldn't "get them back up" since "the sky turned purple." Similarly, in "Not in Portland", Tom explains that "ever since the sky turned purple," some disruption precluded taking Ben off the island for medical treatment of his tumor. Sayid refers to the discharge in "Enter 77" in a similar way, and Mikhail in "Par Avion" refers to it as an "electromagnetic pulse" and confirms that it caused a disruption in the Others's communications equipment and capabilities. However, in "Through the Looking Glass", it is implied that the communications disruption may have been unrelated to the Discharge - being caused instead by jamming all communications from the Looking Glass station.

Based on Kelvin's comments, the activation of the fail-safe presumably ended the need for ongoing "containment" procedures. Additionally, this may have resulted in fundamental changes to the Island’s magnetic phenomena, although no persistent effects have been noted outside the Swan to date.

According to "Access Granted" on Lost: The Complete Third Season (DVD), the DHARMA Initiative broke into an electromagnetic anomaly on driling. The break allowed the magnetic field to leak out and the Swan was constructed over this area to serve as a sort of cork in the dam. DHARMA then formulated the Swan protocol as a means of temporarily closing the leak, but with the drawback that the field would would continue to build up and eventually break it. The fail-safe system permanently "sealed" the leak.

Plausible mechanisms

The science of the discharge is currently unknown and very difficult to explain. If the discharge is considered an instance of the magnetic field growing to enormous strengths and then shrinking to zero (or "normal") strengths, the "implosion" can be understood as the alignment of ferromagnetic and paramagnetic items with the field in that time period. The huge magnetic force required to "implode" the Swan would also compact nonmetallic matter (such as moist dirt), possibly to very high densities. The subsequent expansion of this material upon release of the field could explain the ejecta observed and the excavation of topsoil around the Swan station remains. Additionally, diamagnetic effects could be responsible for the apparent ejection of nonmetallic material. How Locke, Eko and Desmond survived is unknown.

Similarly, such a strong magnetic field can induce significant electric eddy currents in conductive materials, if the flux strength varies rapidly enough. This is often referred to as "electromagnetic pulse" or "EMP." Solid-state electronics are particularly sensitive to these effects and can be disrupted or damaged if the pulse is sufficiently energetic. Based on the observed magnitude of the discharge, it is plausible to assume that this could have occurred on many parts of the Island. Comments about the disruption of the Others's communications equipment can be understood in this manner.

Electromagnetism at the Orchid

See Also: The Orchid and Orchid Orientation Film.

The DHARMA Initiative also discovered another energy pocket on the Island there anothe station, The Orchid was later built. The DHARMA scientists, however, were using this pocket to conduct experiments in time travel. Pierre Chang noted that he was brought to the Island to research the Kerr Metric Equations, which some physicists believe could allow time travel, a property that the Island is known to have. Additionally in the Orchid Orientation Video, Dr. Chang notes that the energy pocket is "negatively charged exotic matter" which produces a Casimir Effect that allowing "unique experiments in both space and time". He also warns that the Island's electromagnetic properties are "highly volatile and unpredictable", a possible reference to The Incident. In the film's first "demonstration", the scientists attempt to shift a white rabbit 100 milliseconds in four dimensional space. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")

For reference, the energy at the Swan Station was considered about 30,000 times more powerful than that at the Orchid. ("The Variable")

Turning the frozen wheel

In turning the frozen wheel beneath the Orchid station in "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3", a sound is heard similar to that of the Discharge. A brilliant white light is also seen, reminiscent of the purple sky seen at the end of the second season. It is unknown if and how these events may be related.


  • The man who discovered electromagnetism was Hans Christian Ørsted. All the letters of his first name and the first letter of his last name spell Hanso.
  • Another notable man in the field of electromagnetism is James Clerk Maxwell, who is mentioned in Find 815 (see: The Maxwell Group).
  • Michael Faraday's greatest contribution to science was the unification of the electric and magnetic forces.

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Electromagnetism/Theories
  • What is the nature of the energy pockets?
  • Are there other energy pockets elsewhere on the Island?
  • How many energy pockets are located across the world and where are they located?

This article uses material from the "Electromagnetism" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

ST Expanded

Up to date as of February 07, 2010

The Star Trek Expanded Universe Database is for fanon and related content. See for the canon Star Trek wiki.

  1. REDIRECTmemoryalpha:Radiation

This article uses material from the "Radiation" article on the ST Expanded wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

Radiation was a byproduct of many natural and artificial substances. Deadly items that were of this nature were deemed radioactive. Radiation encompassed the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including gamma rays, ultraviolet, infrared, and microwave radiation. It was categorized into five phases, with Phase 5 being the deadliest.

Doses of radiation could produce genetic mutations in creatures, resulting in mutants and other ghastly beings such as Coruscani ogres.


Sources of radiation

Natural radiation of all kinds was emitted from stars and interstellar gases, as well as certain materials and elements such as uranium, and even volcanic lava on various planets such as Qat Chrystac.

Radiation would also be emitted as propulsion from certain types of spacecraft as ion particles in twin ion engines, and from certain atmospheric speeders like the Koro-2 all-environment exodrive airspeeder.

It was also produced from the explosion of nuclear bombs and neutron bombs. If a hypermatter reactor exploded, it could produce a cloud of radioactive dust.[1]


The Galactic Empire created the elite Radiation Zone Assault Trooper, or Radtrooper, to work in environments saturated in radioactivity. A radiation bomb was also used by Commander Thrawn in 27 BBY to eradicate life aboard Outbound Flight.

The planet Tund was turned into a virtual wasteland as a result of radiation emitted from an electromagnetic torpedo, which was unleashed by the last Sorcerer of Tund, Rokur Gepta.



Notes and references

See also

This article uses material from the "Radiation" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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