Biological and medical

Physics plays an integral role in the development of new medical and biological technologies. For example, radiotherapy has seen huge increases in employment opportunities for physicists, while all imaging techniques – particularly MRI scanning – rely on physics-based technologies. Physicists are also in demand for developing new methodologies for analysing and manipulating biological materials.

Graduates may need a relevant postgraduate degree to work in the fields of medicine and biology. In the UK, the initial training for medical physicists is a two-year intensive programme accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), while the UK's National Health Service also provides an overview of careers in the field of clinical engineering and the physical sciences.

Case study: From physicists to physicians

After completing undergraduate degrees in physics, Henry Drysdale, Ioan Milosevic and Eirion Slade decided their futures lay in medicine. They share their experiences with Physics World

Case study: Animal magnetism

Steve Roberts explains how a novel business idea – a specialist MRI scanner for horses – led his physics career down an unusual and rewarding path

Case study: From astronauts to cancer patients

A career in radiation physics offers plenty of variety and the chance to solve problems that directly affect patient care, as Lindsay Beaton-Green explains.

Case study: The business of medical physics

Medical physicists working in industry have some of the best jobs around, claims Thomas Rockwell Mackie. But to get there you need to put the time in at the clinic.

Case study: Biologists look for a physical connection

The determination of the structure of DNA in a physics laboratory half a century ago revolutionized biology. Chris St Pourçain explains that physicists can once again play a crucial role in transforming the biological sciences.

Case study: Why biophysics works for me

Five scientists talk to Jon Cartwright about why they are drawn to problems on the border between biology and physics.

Case study: Technology for life

The fight against cancer offers rewarding career opportunities for medical physicists as well as healthcare professionals, as Giulia Thompson describes.