Medical Radiation Physics – proposed course

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					Medical Radiation Physics – proposed course
This lecture module is proposed as a special study topic in applied physics. The focus shall be on the
application of ionising radiation in various aspects of clinical medicine, including diagnostic and
therapeutic modalities.

The first part of the lecture series necessarily discusses the fundamental physics of ionising radiation in
terms of those particle-matter interactions which are essentially electromagnetic in nature, including
some basic nuclear physics.

In the second part, we will shift the discussion into the clinical arena, with emphasis on how general
principles and applications are derived from an understanding of the basic physics.

We shall introduce common modalities and special techniques relevant to clinical practice, and use
our knowledge of the underlying physics to analyse situations and/or problems involving the medical
use of radiation.

General areas covered are :
   1. Interactions between ionising radiation and matter, basic nuclear physics, generation of
      clinically relevant radiation (approx. 8 lectures)
   2. Physics of medical imaging, including functional imaging in nuclear medicine, x-ray
      transmission imaging and tomographic modalities (approx. 5 lectures)
   3. Physics of radiation therapy, including concept of absorbed dose, applied radiobiology,
      external beam radiation, brachytherapy (approx. 5 lectures)

No background in human anatomy, biology nor medicine will be necessary. Some prior exposure to
key concepts of physics at first and second year levels would be advantageous. Students enrolled in
other degree courses are welcome.

Course structure

Lectures : 18 lectures over 9 weeks of first semester.
Assessment : Four short problem sheets (20%) and one end-of-semester exam (80%).
Scheduled lectures : Monday 11am Room 2.15, second lecture TBA.

Recommended reading

Eisberg & Resnick, “Quantum Physics …”                }
Johns & Cunningham, “Physics of Radiology”            } MPSL Closed Reserve
Steve Webb, “Physics of Medical Imaging”              }

Erwin Podgorsak, “Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Syllabus” } online

Faiz M. Khan, “Physics of Radiation Therapy”                 } RPH Medical Physics only
Bushberg et al., “Essential Physics of Medical Imaging”      } (p/copier and study room)

My contact details

Dr Leonard Wee
Tel : +61 8 9224 2500
Fax : +61 8 9224 1138
Email :

Dept. of Medical Engineering & Physics                Mailing address :
Level 1 North Block                                   Dept. of Medical Engineering & Physics
Royal Perth Hospital                                  Royal Peth Hospital
Wellington Street, Perth                              GPO Box X2213, Perth WA 6847

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