Thread: Medical Physics
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Oct9-09, 02:07 AM
P: 144
Very interesting discussion. First of all, let's say both Choppy and qball is doing their best to represent their own personal views regarding the profession called 'medical physicist' and this is very educational and fulfilling the purpose of internet forum. So I thank you both. Hearing from Choppy, I can only guess he is up in the ladder of this medical physics community(pass the board and all, congrat!) while qball only began his carrier. Perhaps, the disagreement b/t them is only natural since they're in different stages of their carrier path.

I'm also a medical physics student at an well-known CAMPEP accredited program and I did finish a lot of didactic courses work while participating research actively. So let others hear my opinions regarding what's been discussed so far by Chubby and qball.

Regarding whether or not medical physicist is real physicist. In my personal opinion I must back qball in saying that medical physicist is not physicist (in academic sense) for the reasons qball stressed so much already. Now, I'm sure there are some great physicist working as a medical physicists (or used to be great physicist either by education or their previous work), but being a medical physicist doesn't automatically mean that you are a physicist (it's not backward compatible!).

Of course, everyone's definition of being physicist is little different. But I must say, making medical physicist a subset of physicist is almost equivalent to making TV repair technician a subset of electrical engineer. Heck, I could even call a high school kid taking physics class a physicist just because he's applying laws of physics to solve his physics problem? But it really doesn't matter what the two medical physicists (I reckon one's a student yet) here say on how they should call each other. What matters is what others think of medical physicist (again personal opinion).

Let's do some thought experiment. Can you imagine a typical physics department hiring a medical physicist (let's say someone who has Ph.d in medical physics from CAMPEP) to do any of typical physics research work that gets published in any of typical physics journals like physics reviews? I myself certainly can't. Can you imagine a typical physics department hiring a medical physicist to teach Quantum Mechanics class or even an general physics class? Again, I can't.

For all practical purpose, let's just call medical physicist a medical physicist and physicist a physicist and don't mix them up.( but if the physicians want to call us by physicist, we let them, just because physicist sounds much smarter than medical physicist).

Now, back to qball's comment about medical physicist just being "Glorious Tech". I think that was unfair call for all the medical physicists out there who strive to investigate and research to improve the clinical outcome and even advance the field of medicine as well as some of its involved engineering fields( EE, NE, and what not, but definitely not HEP). I can only infer qball meant the word for clinical physicist who is not involved in any type of research activity. But still, we should call them by clinical medical physicist.