31098 - Elements of Medical and Health Physics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know the most important and advanced physical methods applied to medicine, the main principles of biophysics, and in general the application of physics to the human health. Specific concepts of mechanics,  thermodynamics, electromagnetism and radiation-matter interaction will be described with a particulr focus on their application to the study of living matter and for the comprehension of the most advanced physical technologies applied to diagnosis, therapy and radiation protection.

Course contents

Application of physics concepts and methods to the study of living organisms, with particular focus on human health, for therapy and diagnosis.

Radiations in medicine. Radiation-matter interaction, physical quantities in dosimetry. Biological effects and interaction with tissues. Biological effects of ionizing radiation and dose-effect curve for the induction of cancerogenesis.

Radiotherapy: conventional and conformational radiotherapy

Diagnostic: Physical principles of imaging diagnostic. Morfological and functional analysis. Diagnostic by X rays, radioisotopes, ultrasounds and nuclear magnetic resonance.

Elements of health physics: Radioprotection and quality control in diagnostic radiology. Basic radioprotection legislation.

Basic concepts of biophysics: relations between cellular morphology and functions.Introduction to Nevous System. Modeling of Biological Systems. Neural Networks and learning rules.

As integration of theoretical lessons, some basic laboratory experiments will be presented (Nuclear magnetic resonance, X rays tomography, Health physics, Biophysics).


Lecture notes will be provided. It is recomended to attend to the lectures.

Teaching methods

Lectures and exercises (slides and blackboard)

Laboratory visit

Assessment methods

Written exam (10 questions to be answered in 90 minuts) to be done without textbooks. After that exam, the students can also give an oral exam in order to reach a better score.

Teaching tools

lectures with slides and specific software to use for particular application.

Office hours

See the website of Gastone Castellani

See the website of Paola Fantazzini