Clinical Applications of Physics in Medicine (PHYS*7510)

Code and section: PHYS*7510*01

Term: Winter 2021

Instructor: Chris Heirwegh


Course Information


Lecturer Email
Chris Heirwegh


Office hours by appointment via Zoom


All classes provided via Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday 2:30-3:50pm (EST). The link has been provided via CourseLink.

Lecture Content

Medical physics is a rapidly developing science field where the strong interference of physics, biology and medicine has a large and growing impact on our health care system. This course gives an overview about the physics foundations and technical developments of medical imaging and medical treatment techniques. Topics include:


  • General image characteristics and image reconstruction
  • X-ray detection and X-ray radiography
  • Computed tomography
  • Ultrasound
  • Planar scintigraphy, SPECT
  • PET and PET/CT
  • MRI


  • Cancer Treatment using photons and electrons
  • Particle accelerators and nuclear reactions
  • Production of radioisotopes
  • Targeted radiation cancer therapy

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will:

  • be able to identify highest fidelity imaging modalities typically used to diagnose certain specific conditions
  • grasp general advantages and disadvantages associated with using each imaging technology in a diagnosis
  • be familiar with image reconstruction mathematical formalism used in medical imaging
  • understand practical considerations associated with treatment planning

Course Materials


There is no single textbook which covers the complete course. I will be posting my lecture notes and additional material onto CourseLink. To some extent, we will closely follow this book: N. Smith, A. Webb: Introduction to Medical Imaging, Cambridge Univ. Press 2010. There is a hardcover (~100$) as well as an e-book version (~75$) available. Includes clinical examples and exercises.


Assessment Weight
Assignments 30%
Presentation 25%
Reading comprehension and class discussion participation 15%
Final online exam (Multiple choice and text-based answers) 30%


Each student gives a presentation (20+10 min.) during class via “Zoom” and screen sharing on a selected topic towards the end of the semester (tba).

Graduate Students:

In addition to their oral presentation, graduate students will produce a brief 4-8 page literature review (single spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins) summarizing the content in their presentation.

Course Policies

Drop Date

The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is April 12th, 2021. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Academic Calendar.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration


The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offenses from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University’s policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offense should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community’s shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact the Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible.

For more information, contact SAS at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email or see the university website on Accessibility.

Course Evaluation Information

Please refer to the Course and Instructor Evaluation Website