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Program Information

Teaching Medical Physics in a Radiology Museum

D Bednarek

D Bednarek*, S Rudin, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York


SU-E-E-6 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: To enhance the learning process in the teaching of medical physics by providing a venue to experience the historical equipment and devices of radiology.

Methods: We have created a museum by assembling a large collection of equipment and artifacts related to radiology and medical physics. As part of a learning-in-context educational approach, classes for a survey course in medical physics are held in the museum so that students are able to visually and tangibly experience the implements of radiology, while related topics are discussed. The students learn how x-ray equipment and techniques evolved throughout the years and they learn to appreciate the differences and similarities between current x-ray technology and that of the early days. The collection contains items dating from the era of the discovery of x-rays up to recent times and includes gas x-ray tubes, hand-held fluoroscopes, generators, spark-gap kV meters, stereoscopes, glass-plate radiographs, a photofluorographic unit, wood-interspaced grid, flat-panel detector, linear-accelerator klystron, and brachytherapy radium applicators, as well as an extensive library containing some of the seminal literature of the field so that students can delve deeper into the technology. In addition to the classes, guided tours are provided for radiologic-technology, bioengineering, physics and medical students, as well as group and individual tours for the general public.

Results: Student course assessments have consistently included positive expressions of their experience in the museum. Numerous students have volunteered to assist with display preparation and have learned by researching the content. Many individuals have been attracted on a walk-in basis and have expressed a deep curiosity in the technology, with positive feedback.

Conclusion: The museum and its artifacts have been invaluable in stimulating interest in the history and technology of medical physics. Students and visitors alike obtain a deeper appreciation of the contribution physics has made to medicine.

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