skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: SU-A-BRA-03: Creative Stimulation: A Flexible Hands-On Approach to Building a Deeper Understanding of Critical Concepts in Radiation Physics

Abstract

Vic Montemayor - No one has been more passionate about improving the quality and effectiveness of the teaching of Medical Physics than Bill Hendee. It was in August of 2008 that the first AAPM Workshop on Becoming a Better Teacher of Medical Physics was held, organized and run by Bill Hendee. This was followed up in July of 2010 with a summer school on the same topic, again organized by Bill. There has been continued interest in alternate approaches to teaching medical physics since those initial gatherings. The momentum established by these workshops is made clear each year in the annual Innovation in Medical Physics Education session, which highlights work being done in all forms of medical physics education, from one-on-one residencies or classroom presentations to large-scale program revisions and on-line resources for international audiences. This symposium, presented on behalf of the Education Council, highlights the work of three finalists from past Innovation in Education sessions. Each will be presenting their approaches to and innovations in teaching medical physics. It is hoped that audience members interested in trying something new in their teaching of medical physics will find some of these ideas and approaches readily applicable to their own classrooms.more » Rebecca Howell - The presentation will discuss ways to maximize classroom learning, i.e., increasing the amount of material covered while also enhancing students’ understanding of the broader implications of the course topics. Specifically, the presentation will focus on two teaching methodologies, project based learning and flip learning. These teaching methods will be illustrated using an example of graduate medical physics course where both are used in conjunction with traditional lectures. Additionally, the presentation will focus on our experience implementing these methods including challenges that were overcome. Jay Burmeister - My presentation will discuss the incorporation of active learning techniques into a traditional medical physics classroom course. I will describe these techniques and how they were implemented as well as student performance before and after implementation. Student feedback indicated that these course changes improved their ability to actively assimilate the course content, thus improving their understanding of the material. Shahid Naqvi - My talk will focus on ways to help students visualize crucial concepts that lie at the core of radiation physics. Although particle tracks generated by Monte Carlo simulations have served as an indispensable visualization tool, students often struggle to resolve the underlying physics from a simultaneous jumble of tracks. We can clarify the physics by “coding” the tracks, e.g., by coloring the tracks according to their “starting” or “crossing” regions. The regionally-coded tracks when overlaid with dose distributions help the students see the elusive connection between dose, kerma and electronic disequilibrium. Tracks coded according to local energy or energy-loss rate can illustrate the need for stopping power corrections in electron beams and explain the Bragg peak in a proton beam. Coding tracks according to parent interaction type and order can clarify the often misunderstood distinction between primary and scatter dose. The students can thus see the “whole” simultaneously with the “sum of the parts,” which enhances their physical insight and creates a sustainable foundation for further learning. After the presentations the speakers and moderator will be open to questions and discussion with the audience members. Learning Objectives: Be able to explain Project-Based Learning and how can it be incorporated into a Medical Physics classroom. Be able to explain Flipped Learning and how can it be incorporated into a Medical Physics classroom. Be able to explain active-learning strategies for the teaching of Medical Physics. Be able to explain how Monte Carlo simulations can be used to deepen a student’s understanding of radiation physics and dosimetry.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Saint Agnes Cancer Institute, Baltimore, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22624285
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: (c) 2016 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
07 ISOTOPES AND RADIATION SOURCES; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; BRAGG CURVE; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CORRECTIONS; DOSIMETRY; ELECTRON BEAMS; ENERGY LOSSES; LEARNING; LECTURES; MONTE CARLO METHOD; PARTICLE TRACKS; PROTON BEAMS; RADIATION DOSE DISTRIBUTIONS; RADIATION DOSES; STIMULATION; STOPPING POWER

Citation Formats

Naqvi, S. SU-A-BRA-03: Creative Stimulation: A Flexible Hands-On Approach to Building a Deeper Understanding of Critical Concepts in Radiation Physics. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1118/1.4955512.
Naqvi, S. SU-A-BRA-03: Creative Stimulation: A Flexible Hands-On Approach to Building a Deeper Understanding of Critical Concepts in Radiation Physics. United States. doi:10.1118/1.4955512.
Naqvi, S. 2016. "SU-A-BRA-03: Creative Stimulation: A Flexible Hands-On Approach to Building a Deeper Understanding of Critical Concepts in Radiation Physics". United States. doi:10.1118/1.4955512.
@article{osti_22624285,
title = {SU-A-BRA-03: Creative Stimulation: A Flexible Hands-On Approach to Building a Deeper Understanding of Critical Concepts in Radiation Physics},
author = {Naqvi, S.},
abstractNote = {Vic Montemayor - No one has been more passionate about improving the quality and effectiveness of the teaching of Medical Physics than Bill Hendee. It was in August of 2008 that the first AAPM Workshop on Becoming a Better Teacher of Medical Physics was held, organized and run by Bill Hendee. This was followed up in July of 2010 with a summer school on the same topic, again organized by Bill. There has been continued interest in alternate approaches to teaching medical physics since those initial gatherings. The momentum established by these workshops is made clear each year in the annual Innovation in Medical Physics Education session, which highlights work being done in all forms of medical physics education, from one-on-one residencies or classroom presentations to large-scale program revisions and on-line resources for international audiences. This symposium, presented on behalf of the Education Council, highlights the work of three finalists from past Innovation in Education sessions. Each will be presenting their approaches to and innovations in teaching medical physics. It is hoped that audience members interested in trying something new in their teaching of medical physics will find some of these ideas and approaches readily applicable to their own classrooms. Rebecca Howell - The presentation will discuss ways to maximize classroom learning, i.e., increasing the amount of material covered while also enhancing students’ understanding of the broader implications of the course topics. Specifically, the presentation will focus on two teaching methodologies, project based learning and flip learning. These teaching methods will be illustrated using an example of graduate medical physics course where both are used in conjunction with traditional lectures. Additionally, the presentation will focus on our experience implementing these methods including challenges that were overcome. Jay Burmeister - My presentation will discuss the incorporation of active learning techniques into a traditional medical physics classroom course. I will describe these techniques and how they were implemented as well as student performance before and after implementation. Student feedback indicated that these course changes improved their ability to actively assimilate the course content, thus improving their understanding of the material. Shahid Naqvi - My talk will focus on ways to help students visualize crucial concepts that lie at the core of radiation physics. Although particle tracks generated by Monte Carlo simulations have served as an indispensable visualization tool, students often struggle to resolve the underlying physics from a simultaneous jumble of tracks. We can clarify the physics by “coding” the tracks, e.g., by coloring the tracks according to their “starting” or “crossing” regions. The regionally-coded tracks when overlaid with dose distributions help the students see the elusive connection between dose, kerma and electronic disequilibrium. Tracks coded according to local energy or energy-loss rate can illustrate the need for stopping power corrections in electron beams and explain the Bragg peak in a proton beam. Coding tracks according to parent interaction type and order can clarify the often misunderstood distinction between primary and scatter dose. The students can thus see the “whole” simultaneously with the “sum of the parts,” which enhances their physical insight and creates a sustainable foundation for further learning. After the presentations the speakers and moderator will be open to questions and discussion with the audience members. Learning Objectives: Be able to explain Project-Based Learning and how can it be incorporated into a Medical Physics classroom. Be able to explain Flipped Learning and how can it be incorporated into a Medical Physics classroom. Be able to explain active-learning strategies for the teaching of Medical Physics. Be able to explain how Monte Carlo simulations can be used to deepen a student’s understanding of radiation physics and dosimetry.},
doi = {10.1118/1.4955512},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 6,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 6
}
  • Purpose: To present a hands-on project on Monte Carlo methods (MC) recently added to the curriculum and to discuss the students' appreciation. Methods: Since 2012, a 1.5 hour lecture dedicated to MC fundamentals follows the detailed presentation of photon and electron interactions. Students also program all sampling steps (interaction length and type, scattering angle, energy deposit) of a MC photon transport code. A handout structured in a step-by-step fashion guides student in conducting consistency checks. For extra points, students can code a fully working MC simulation, that simulates a dose distribution for 50 keV photons. A kerma approximation to dosemore » deposition is assumed. A survey was conducted to which 10 out of the 14 attending students responded. It compared MC knowledge prior to and after the project, questioned the usefulness of radiation physics teaching through MC and surveyed possible project improvements. Results: According to the survey, 76% of students had no or a basic knowledge of MC methods before the class and 65% estimate to have a good to very good understanding of MC methods after attending the class. 80% of students feel that the MC project helped them significantly to understand simulations of dose distributions. On average, students dedicated 12.5 hours to the project and appreciated the balance between hand-holding and questions/implications. Conclusion: A lecture on MC methods with a hands-on MC programming project requiring about 14 hours was added to the graduate study curriculum since 2012. MC methods produce “gold standard” dose distributions and slowly enter routine clinical work and a fundamental understanding of MC methods should be a requirement for future students. Overall, the lecture and project helped students relate crosssections to dose depositions and presented numerical sampling methods behind the simulation of these dose distributions. Research funding from governments of Canada and Quebec. PP acknowledges partial support by the CREATE Medical Physics Research Training Network grant of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Grant number: 432290)« less
  • Few businesses are as highly dependent on generating a continuous stream of new ideas as is petroleum exploration. Yet the development of exploration concepts in the US is little studied and thus poorly understood. Systematic analysis of the discovery histories and key characteristics of more than 500 known producing oil and gas plays in the US shows how exploration concepts have developed during this century. The discoveries made in a play provide the empirical realization of an exploration concept. Several key characteristics of these discoveries, such as location, productive formation, depositional environment of the reservoir, reservoir depth, trap type, sizemore » distribution, and hydrocarbon type, can be used to retrospectively define an exploration concept. Three elements of play discovery histories - their timing, duration, and cyclicity - are particularly useful in analyzing how exploration concepts have developed. The time period of discoveries in a play indicates the state of geologic knowledge and the capabilities of exploration, drilling, and completion technology when discovery occurred. The duration of the discovery history indicates both the complexity and variety of prospects within the play. The cyclicity of the discovery process indicates whether the exploration concept was affected by changes in knowledge, technology, or economics.« less
  • Purpose: Most medical physics programs emphasize proficiency in routine clinical calculations and QA. The formulaic aspect of these calculations and prescriptive nature of measurement protocols obviate the need to frequently apply basic physical principles, which, therefore, gradually decay away from memory. E.g. few students appreciate the role of electron transport in photon dose, making it difficult to understand key concepts such as dose buildup, electronic disequilibrium effects and Bragg-Gray theory. These conceptual deficiencies manifest when the physicist encounters a new system, requiring knowledge beyond routine activities. Methods: Two interactive computer simulation tools are developed to facilitate deeper learning of physicalmore » principles. One is a Monte Carlo code written with a strong educational aspect. The code can “label” regions and interactions to highlight specific aspects of the physics, e.g., certain regions can be designated as “starters” or “crossers,” and any interaction type can be turned on and off. Full 3D tracks with specific portions highlighted further enhance the visualization of radiation transport problems. The second code calculates and displays trajectories of a collection electrons under arbitrary space/time dependent Lorentz force using relativistic kinematics. Results: Using the Monte Carlo code, the student can interactively study photon and electron transport through visualization of dose components, particle tracks, and interaction types. The code can, for instance, be used to study kerma-dose relationship, explore electronic disequilibrium near interfaces, or visualize kernels by using interaction forcing. The electromagnetic simulator enables the student to explore accelerating mechanisms and particle optics in devices such as cyclotrons and linacs. Conclusion: The proposed tools are designed to enhance understanding of abstract concepts by highlighting various aspects of the physics. The simulations serve as virtual experiments that give deeper and long lasting understanding of core principles. The student can then make sound judgements in novel situations encountered beyond routine clinical activities.« less
  • The concepts of ionizing radiation and energy imparted defined by the ICRU in 1971 (Radiation Quantities and Units, Report 19, International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements, Washington, D.C., 1971) are critically analyzed. It is found that the definitions become more consistent by changing them at two points. Charged particles with insufficient kinetic energy to ionize by collision but which are capable of initiating nuclear and elementary particle transformations are suggested to be classified as ionizing particles. In addition, the expressions ''the energy released'' or the ''energy expended'' in a nuclear or elementary particle transformation are suggested to be specifiedmore » as ''the change in rest-mass energy of nuclei and elementary particles.'' Then the ionization caused by, for instance, nuclear reactions contributes to the energy imparted and the Q-value of an excitation or deexcitation of the electron structure, regarded as an elementary particle transformation, is zero.« less