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Medical physics boring?

  1. Feb 18, 2008 #1
    Hi all. Thank you in advance for your advice. Long time lurker, first-time poster.

    It seems I have the ideal resume for going into medical physics for grad school but I look at the grad programs and see nothing physics-intensive at all. As a matter of fact, I've used almost every text already in undergrad! I planned on going into research to avoid the political BS of a hospital and I always thought I'd be using things I learned in QM and E&M there, but now I'm not sure if that really makes sense.

    My question is, has anyone had any research experience in this area? What are the good/bad parts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    Around here, "medical physics" means something very specific- radiation dosimetry. Do you mean something more general, as in biomedical research?
  4. Feb 18, 2008 #3
    I mean medical physics. What the AAPM oversees. Radiation dosimetry is a large part of it, yeah.
  5. Feb 18, 2008 #4
    Medical physics graduate programs aren't intended to teach you more physics. By and large all the physics you'll ever need to know for medical physics you've already attained in undergrad. What you're supposed to learn is how to apply the physics you've learned to problems in medicine and work in either research or in a clinical setting.

    Medical physics covers two broad areas, diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy. The program you choose will depend on what area you want to go into. In both, you'll learn about radiation dosimetry, radiobiology, radiation safety. In a diagnostic program you'll also learn about all the imaging modalities. In a therapy program, it will be all about radiation therapy (linear accelerators, brachytherapy, treatment planning, etc). A good graduate program will also expose you to clinical work too.

    Take a gander through Medical Physics or Physics in Medicine and Biology to get an idea of some of the current research going on in the medical physics world.

    As for the politics, you're going to have to deal with that in whatever field you work in. Hospital politics isn't any different from any other politics. Besides, the very nature of medical physics means you're never going to be able to avoid a hospital setting, even in research.
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