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Science AMA Series: Hi Reddit, we’re a group of passionate medical physicists working in clinical, industry and research, here to shed light on the wonderful world of medical physics. Ask us anything!
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EDIT: Thank you SO much for your very insightful and thought-provoking questions! We had a blast, and we are so excited so many of you are interested in medical physics! We’re signing off for now, but will answer a few more questions throughout the day. Thanks again!   So, who IS a medical physicist? We’re concerned with three areas of activity: clinical service and consultation, research and development and teaching. In clinical work, medical physicists are heavily involved with responsibilities in areas of diagnosis and treatment, for individual patients and across the entire clinical environment. In radiation oncology departments, one important example is the planning of radiation treatments for cancer patients, using either external radiation or internal radioactive sources. In imaging departments, the focus is not only to take pictures of body form and function safely, but to more importantly achieve precise quantitative benefit. We also can play a lead role on medical research teams. For example, we design new imaging methods to see through the human body most effectively. In cancer, we work primarily on issues involving radiation, such as the basic physical mechanisms of biological change after irradiation, the application of new high-energy machines for patient treatment and the development of new techniques for precise measurement of radiation. We do important things – but the challenge of our work lies in trying to marry the basic science of physics with the applied art of medicine. We’re strong proponents of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine’s Medical Physics 3.0 initiative, which is based on the core premise that medical physicists have a unique calling and expertise to be scientific agents (i.e., catalysts): agents for precision and innovation in the development and practice of medicine. Within the medical physics community, we’re focused on fostering a culture that empowers better communication, enabling better patient care. Ask us anything about our careers, research goals, trends in medical physics or anything else you can dream of! We’re here to spread the word about how awesome it is to be a medical physicist and maybe inspire a few of you to join us someday!   We are: Ehsan Samei, PhD, DABR, FAAPM, FSPIE, FAIMBE, a Persian-American medical physicist. As an imaging scientist and a clinical practitioner, I am passionate about bridging the gap between scientific scholarship and clinical practice. I like to see high-quality research effectively translated to benefit individual patients. Robin Miller, MS DABR FAAPM, a medical physicist focusing on clinical radiation therapy. As a part of the cancer care team, my passion is providing the highest quality care possible for each patient treated. Paul Naine, MSc. MIPEM, IEng, a medical physicist working for a device manufacturer. I work alongside teams of medical professionals whose vocation is to design and deliver products and services to enable healthcare providers to focus on providing the safest and most effective treatments to their patients.