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Physics Medical Physics Advices

  1. Nov 10, 2008 #1

    I started thinking about Medical Physics the other day as one of the options for me. I have not taken any biology classes so far, but took some intensive biology classes in high school that is equivalent to freshmen and a part of sophomore biology classes. I started looking at graduate programs on medical physics but did not find whole lot. Can anyone please help me explore the field of Medical Physics and is possible, even suggest something?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2
    I'm not in the field but i'm familiar with a few topics related medical physics.

    There is a alot of R&D involved with MRI (more specificlly, nuclear-magnetic-resonance) machines. In undergrad a prof who taught a physics course i took once said "you'll never fully understand how an MRI machine works until you study quantum mechanics". At my school there was considerable amount of research involved with NMR/MRI machines.

    Laser microscope technology is another big one that involves a bit of physics and engineering. I know that fempto-second lasers have been used in confocal microscopes to excite 'flouresence' signals from a microscope sample to generate a microscope image. From what i understand, the physicists/engineer develop the laser to meet certain specifications (such as wavelength range, mode locking, output power) for the biologists conducting research.

    And there is ofcourse nano-technology (which encompasses physics/bio/chem) and its use in medical sciences, unfortunately i dont know much about this since i havent been following news on the latest developments.

    Does your school offer medical physics courses? If so, take those to get a feel of what type of work is involved in terms of physics.
  4. Nov 15, 2008 #3
    I share the exact concerns with the TC.

    However, I'm not sure what are some good options for schools, like the TC said, it's hard to find much information on it.

    I assumed medical schools offered degrees of medical physics, but ones like Baylor and Cornell only offered Biophysics, which I don't think is the same as Medical Physics.

    I'd like some more advice too :D
  5. Nov 15, 2008 #4


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    The place to start looking is at CAMPEP accredited programs:
    These programs are very competative.

    Biophysics and medical physics are generally two different disciplines (although there is some cross over). Generally with biophysics you're concerned with things like the structure of mirotubules, or protein kinetics, whereas medical physics concentrates on medical applications of physics is fields such as radiation therapy and radiological imaging.
  6. Nov 23, 2008 #5
    Actually most medical physicists are working in radiation oncology, providing physics support for the radiation oncologists & medical dosimetrists. Medical physicists working in that field get paid on average about the same as a family physician, or about 140k.
  7. Nov 23, 2008 #6
    Choppy's right. By the way medical physics is pretty much physics oriented, you don't really need to know much about biology, and it is not being offered by medical schools, medical physicists are PhDs just like other physicists.
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