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Physics Radiation Physicst

  1. May 22, 2009 #1
    Hi all.

    Today at school at I saw a poster on radiation physics. I have never thought about taking courses in this area of physics, but it seems very applied, so I am interested in knowing more about this.

    Is it possible to get a job at e.g. a medical center/hospital doing research if you have only studied radiation physics, and not medical physics/biophysics in general? And if this wouldn't work out, do you know if there is being research done in this area anymore?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards,
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2009 #2


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    Radiation physics could include a lot of things.

    In relation to medical physics radiation physics might include Monte Carlo transport algorithms, nano-scale track structure, accelerator design, detector design, instrumentation (for example a study of the performance of circuits/devices when subject to radiation - this has applications in medicine and space), medical applications of high LET radiation, etc.

    In general, if you're interested in working in a hospital with physics, medical physics is the way to go.
  4. May 22, 2009 #3
    How would you rate the chances of a "pure" physicst with considerable experience in radiation to be able to work at a medical center/hospital doing the above mentioned things?

    The reason why I am asking is because the biophysical courses at my college are mostly courses in chemistry and biochemistry, so I am not so sure how applied they are.
  5. May 23, 2009 #4


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    As I said, if you're really interested in working in a hospital with radiation, medical physics is the way to go. The best path towards getting there is an undergraduate degree in physics ('pure' physics), followed by a graduate degree in medical physics.
    Note that to get into a medical physics program, you don't generally need any courses other than those you would pursue in a regular undergraduate physics program (although exact requirements do vary from school to school).

    You can get into the field with say a Ph.D. in another area of physics, but this avenue is shrinking rapidly - largely because you would be competing with graduates coming from certified medical physics programs. I can't give you exact odds on the matter because it's a supply and demand issue.

    Biophysics tends more to do with the physics of interactions on the biochemical level. The biophysicists I know, spend a lot of time working out the kinetics of different drugs - work that ultimately can suggest more lucrative avenues of research for pharmeceuticals.
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