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Programs PhD in what area?

  1. Feb 23, 2009 #1
    Hey all,
    I need some help.
    I am just about to finish my MSc in astrophysics, but I am tired of it. I have a background undergrad of quantum and some nuclear, but I want to do my PhD in something that involves computational physics that directly helps humanity, such as climate physics etc.

    Can anyone suggest a possible future path and or University. Preferbly somewhere in Europe.
    Thanks all
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2009 #2

    Choppy

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    Have you looked into medical physics? I did a master's degree in plasma physics before switching over and have found the field very rewarding.
     
  4. Feb 23, 2009 #3
    No I haven't could you maybe suggest some good universities?
     
  5. Feb 23, 2009 #4

    Choppy

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    I'm not familiar with European schools. In North America it's best to try to get into a CAMPEP-accredited program to ensure you get the full range of training you would need to enter the clinical field.

    http://www.campep.org/campeplstgrad.asp
     
  6. Feb 23, 2009 #5
    how much interaction do you have with patients?
     
  7. Feb 23, 2009 #6

    Choppy

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    Medical physicists don't typically have a lot of direct interaction with patients - although this does vary from center to center. Day-to-day the radiation therapists set the patients up on the radiotherapy units. I see patients on occasion when I'm called in for a consult - for example when a patient with a pacemaker is going to be irradiated I would be called in to figure out the risk of the treatment causing a malfunction in the device, which sometimes involves physically measuring the patient. Usually, physicists work behind the scenes, but we do 'see' most patients that come through for radiation therapy, at least as a part of a treatment plan evaluation.
     
  8. Feb 24, 2009 #7
    I've heard the pay is high for a medical physicist, is that true?
     
  9. Feb 24, 2009 #8

    Choppy

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    Short answer: yes.

    For hard numbers, the AAPM (American Association of Physicists in Medicine) produces an annual salary survey. To my knowledge this is available to members only, but you could contact them directly for the most recent results.

    You could also look at:
    http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/salary/salary04.htm
    where "hospital, medical services" for physics PhDs has the highest "typical salaries" range - significantly higher than academic positions. (With board certification you may want to weight the results towards the higher end or even above the listed range).

    Caveat: With high pay comes high responsibility. When a medical physicist makes an error, it has the potential to affect a lot of people.
     
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