• A day with the atom

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    Scientific use of radiation technology is behind much of the material progress we’ve seen in the past half century.

    SOMETHING too small to see can have a big influence on your life in surprising ways. For example, consider what life would be like if scientists had not harnessed the atomic nucleus to meet human needs. There are many more ways than most people realize that nuclear science and technology play a positive role in their daily lives. Here’s a look at some examples:

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    When you turn on the light, there’s a one in five chance the electricity came from a nuclear power plant.

    If you wear contact lenses, the saline solution you use may have been sterilized with radiation.

    The nonstick surfaces on kitchenware are sometimes applied with the help of radiation.

    The advanced materials in your car are often made possible by radioisotopes and radiation techniques, and the rubber on the tires may have been made stronger with the help of radiation.

    You can sleep safely knowing you have a smoke detector to alert you to potential danger thanks to its built-in radioisotope.

    For more information from the American Nuclear Society, go to www.ans.org/pi/atom.   North American Precis Syndicate

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