MAR 20, 2018 8:30 AM PDT

Computer Problems with an Unearthly Cause

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Next time your computer crashes unexpectedly, you might be able to blame the cosmic rays as the culprit.

Earth's atmosphere is constantly bombarded by cosmic rays traveling close to the speed of light. Thanks to the atoms in the air, we are shielded from most of the cosmic rays. But when these high energy particles strike the atmosphere, they break apart the atomic structures, producing cascades of subatomic particles by the billions every second.

Even though the secondary radiation does not pose a serious health hazard to lives on earth, some of these particles are so energetic that they can interfere with the operation of the microelectronic circuitry in our computers by altering individual bits of data stored in memory, and causing errors, or even system crashes. 

Source: SciShow via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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