Fantastic Radiation Shielding
Real-life radiation shielding mainly concerns huge slabs of lead and the radiation itself is understood as harmful electromagnetic energy emitted by uranium and other radioactive materials. This trope covers all instances where:
- Realistic radiation is shielded by fantastic means;
- Fantastic radiation (such as The Government's Mind Control rays) is shielded by mundane means (the classic Tinfoil Hat);
- Fantastic radiation is shielded by fantastic means.
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- In The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios explains how a helmet made of lead really could block attempts at mind reading, provided it's done by trying to pick up electric pulses in the brain.
- In past ages of comic books, Kryptonite radiation was stopped by lead, and only lead, even though while lead provides great radiation shielding in real life, it's by far not unique in this property.
- In the X-Men films, Magneto's helmet protects him from various mutants' psychic powers.
- In The Salvation War, demonic mind control and illusion powers can be blocked by foil, the story gets much mileage out of this, including the line "There will always be eccentrics who deny that the tin foil hat is absolutely essential to prevent baldricks taking over your mind." said by a government official.
- Aluminium foil is far from the only method of achieving this effect, however; it's just the most lightweight and convenient material available for the task on short notice.
- In The Alloy of Law, aluminum and some of its alloys are "allomantically inert", which means, in part that wearing a hat lined with aluminum foil will prevent an Allomancer from using Emotion Control powers on you.
- In The Beacon To Elsewhere by James H Schmitz, radiation suits are used which protect the user by means of force fields. The protagonist has an advanced version which generates the force field without the need for a suit.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of The Finder the Finder wears an aluminum foil hat. The Client Of The Week (Hodgins from Bones) mocks him, but it really does help block the government from interfering with your brain waves so you can move.
- In the second ever Doctor Who story, "The Daleks", the Doctor and his companions take medicine that not only cure them of radiation sickness encountered while unknowingly exploring an irradiated planet, but also protects them from future radiation.
- From Warhammer 40,000 comes the Gellar field, which projects a "bubble of reality" around large-scale objects, making is used as a shield from psychic energy. While it's used in that capacity only a few times, such as to ward off psychic phenomena or daemons, it's main use is to allow ships to safely transition from realspace and to exist safely warpspace, making it essential to most factions' capacity for FTL travel. However, the technology is not totally reliable, and sudden Gellar field failure will mean that the fabric of the ship will...change within hours, although the crew will be long dead by that point, and be wishing for death up to that point.
- In the Mass Effect franchise, it's possible to block the mechanism for Reaper indoctrination ( and Leviathan enthrallment, which is quite similar) with sufficient numbers of glowy energy barriers. This is handy for studying fragments of Reapers and other small artifacts, which could otherwise slowly indoctrinate researchers to the Reaper cause. However, it's insufficient for really big things, like active Reapers and capital ship derelicts.
- Karl in FreakAngels wears one so the other "angels" don't bother him with telepathic messages all the time. It's not clear whether or not it works because their telepathy uses radio waves or the placebo effect, but it seems to make him feel a bit better.
- In The Order of the Stick, Belkar uses a lead sheet to block Miko's Detect Evil ability. Later in the story, La Résistance of the Azure City use the same to hide from goblins' Detect Good. This is actually taken straight from the game the comic is based on, where (at least up to third edition) varying thicknesses of different materials will in fact block low-level Detect spells.
- Given an epic Call Back in the "Girard's Gate" storyline, when it turns out that the eponymous Gate itself is hidden behind lead sheeting, inside a pillar labelled "Your Gate Is In Another Pyramid".