Certain environments are rich in radiation—for example, the interior of a nuclear power plant’s fission reactor, or outer space during a solar flare, or (more morbidly) ground zero of a nuclear explosion or meltdown. In these environments, the things we build need to be able to withstand these high radiation levels without breaking down. Radiation isn’t just damaging to living tissue—it can also damage nonliving materials. Strong and sturdy materials can become brittler and lose their tensile strength. Some materials might swell or become less conductive to heat or electricity. Electronics are particularly at risk of failing due to electrical breakdowns and radiation hardening. These symptoms of heavy radiation exposure can have catastrophic consequences for a material’s structural integrity or for a computer system’s capability to function.