1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What do medical and radiation physicists do?

  1. May 11, 2010 #1
    I was just wondering whether anyone could tell me the possible carrer paths of a medical physicist. Also what exactly do they do?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    There are different branches of medical physics, so what we do can vary considerably. And even within a branch there can be considerable diversity.

    The majority of clinical medical physicists work in radiation therapy. This work involves:
    - treatment planning
    - usually problem solving in the difficult plans,
    - verification of plans,
    - procedure development,
    - algorithm commissioning and even development
    - monitoring dose
    - developing and implementing new techniques
    - developing and maintaining quality assurance programs for radiation devices (such as linear accelerators, brachytherapy machines, radiosurgery units, CT-simulators, integrated imaging systems, etc.) as well as associated equipment
    - commissioning of new equipment
    - pre-purchase evaluation
    - acceptance testing
    - characterising and defining operational parameters
    - calibration
    - radiation protection and safety
    - facility design
    - dose monitoring
    - teaching
    - supervising adherence to relevant legislation

    Academically speaking many medical physicists are also involved in research, where the projects can be quite diverse (everything from clinical trials to solid state physics research)as well as teaching (medical physics students, physicians, radiation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses, etc.).
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook