Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Marcus Kitchen, Dr Kaye Morgan


A review of fundamental physics concepts including mathematics. Units of measurement. Mechanics and heat. Atomic structure and electromagnetic radiation. Electricity, magnetism and electromagnetism. X-rays and their production. X-ray emission and interactions between x-rays and matter. Attenuation of x-rays and filters. Principles of radioactivity and nuclear transformation. Introduction to radiation therapy principles. Foundation principles of radiation protection together with statutory requirements. Introduction to computer imaging in medicine.


On completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the physical principles underpinning atomic and nuclear structure;
  2. Understand fundamental principles in mechanics and thermal physics that are relevant to the production and absorption of energy;
  3. Explain the physical laws of interaction of particles and waves, including the mechanisms for absorption and scattering of energy at the atomic level;
  4. Explain in quantitative terms the production of x-rays and the use of exposure factors that control x-ray intensity, penetration and dose;
  5. Use quantitative measures for the absorption of x-rays and to understand why and how x-ray absorption coefficients vary with energy and atomic number and relate these ideas to the sharp depiction of contrast changes in x-ray images of patients;
  6. Understand the effects of ionizing radiation on cellular matter and be able to explain the basic principles underlying radiation dose and radiation safety;
  7. Implement and evaluate appropriate radiation safety strategies and radiation protection measures in the context of diagnostic x-rays;
  8. Understand the fundamental principles of radiation therapy and the production and use of radiopharmaceutical products;


1 x 1 hr mid-semester exam: 20%
1 x 2 hr end-semester exam: 50%
Numerical laboratory reports: 20%
Numeric assignment: 10%
HURDLE: Must pass the mid-semester exam.

Chief examiner(s)


Entry to the BRadMedImag