Medical Physics Topics as an Anchor for Physics Learning


  • Jessica Fagerstrom University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.



Students taking introductory courses in physics at the secondary and university level may benefit from the inclusion of medical physics topics, a growing field related to biophysics that includes radiation therapy physics, medical imaging physics, nuclear medicine, and health physics. Both standard physics classes for physics and engineering students, as well as physics courses for students interested in the life sciences may take advantage of the applied and immediately applicable nature of medical physics topics. Integrating medical physics as examples of physics topics stimulates learning as relevant and connected to students’ prior knowledge and interests, develops problem solving skills, engages students with concepts involving ethical and social implications of science and technology, and introduces students to a potential career opportunity. Examples of medical physics topics are discussed. Physics educators are encouraged to consider integrating some examples from medical physics into their curricula to spur student engagement and to acquaint students with one example of a rewarding career opportunity in physics.






Curriculum development and innovation