Health physics

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is that the participants acquire knowledge and understand the problems connected with Health Physics and Radiation Protection, subjects with a strong interdisciplinary content, whose understanding can make a contribution to a better quality of the life, of the environment, for health and safety in the workplace, subjecys that are of primary interest in the life sciences field.
The aim is to make it clear that since the beginning of the twentieth century numerous discoveries and new applications have followed one after another in the various sectors of Physics, significantly leading to a widening of knowledge also in disciplines, not necessarily related to Physics, but which contribute more than any other to improving the quality of life. These include the applications of ionizing radiation, starting from the discovery of radioactivity and X-rays, up to the medical applications of the use of radionuclides for diagnostics and metabolic radiotherapy and of NMR imaging techniques.
For this purpose, the conceptual bases of Health Physics are provided, explaining and deciphering the characterizing concepts of this discipline in the specific operational aspects of the subject itself. Health Physics, in addition to covering aspects of operational radiation protection, addresses the development of new analytical and dosimetric techniques and wider issues, such as support and aid to decision making, in relation to the assessment of risks, the drafting of guidelines in the management of problems that may involve radioecology, waste management, food safety, energy production, use of diagnostic or therapeutic techniques, use of radiopharmaceuticals, toxicology, the use of alternative techniques in the control of industrial processes.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will start to have the basics concepts and expertize, characterizing the Health Physics which include:
· -the use of physical and mathematical methods necessary to develop research in the field of physics applied to the medicine, the environment and the industry;
· having in-depth knowledge of the interaction of radiation with matter;
· being autonomous in the use of instrumentation and detection techniques and their use for dosimetric and radiation protection purposes;
· having the basic about biological, physiological and morphological knowledge of the human organism;
· having the knowledge of radiobiological quantities;
· knowing how to apply the calculation techniques for the evaluation of the energy transfer of the radiations to the matter with particular reference to the biological one;
· the deepening of the concepts related to natural radiation sources;
· the deepening of the concepts related to artificial radiation sources and their mode of production using reactors and accelerators;
· the ability to use models to describe the spread of pollutants in the environment and their metabolism in humans;
· the ability to present the recommendations of international institutions and the regulations in force in the field of ionizing radiation and the management of environmental contamination, with their social, ethical and economic implications;
· having a qualification that allows working in conditions of autonomy, assuming responsibility for projects and structures in the field of health, research, promotion and development of scientific and technological innovation.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching method:
it remains that the preferred teaching method is the one that provides face-to-face lessons.
The methods and criteria for participating in face-to-face lessons, which require a reservation with a special app, will be published in time on the Ariel pages of the course, as well as notices relating to any update related to the evolution of the legislation imposed by Covid- 19.
But, following the Emergency Phase, depending on the number and individual situations of students participating in the course, it could be delivered remotely.
In that case:
- the lessons will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed both in synchrony on the basis of the first semester timetable and asynchronously because they will be recorded and left available to students on the same platform and on Ariel platform.
- Program and reference material:
The program and reference material will not change.
- Methods for verifying learning and evaluation criteria:
The exam will take place orally, as reported in the section "Exam procedures", using the Microsoft Teams platform or, where the regulations allow, in person, always in oral form.
Course syllabus
- Historical origin from the discovery of ionizing radiation and purposes of health physics and radiation protection;
- Applications of Ionizing Radiation and thetask of the Health Physicist and the Radioprotectionist in industrial, research and medical/hospital fields;
- Radiological units of measurement and operational definitions;
- Ionizing radiation, decays, radioactive decay law; nuclear reactions;
- Radiation sources, natural and artificial isotopes;
- Accelerating machines and Nuclear Reactors for the production of artificial radioactivity;
- Interaction of radiation with matter;
- Biological effects induced by radiation;
- Dosimetric radiation theory and operative dosimetry;
- Radioactive field measurement techniques and mixed field measurement;
- Radioactive contamination of aeriforms, liquids, solids and surfaces;
- Basic concepts of Italian radiation protection legislation.
Prerequisites for admission
1. Nuclear and Subnuclear Physics Teaching;
2. Chemistry Teaching;
3. Teaching of Interaction and Detection of Nuclear Radiation.
Teaching methods
The didactic method adopted provides frontal lessons.
The teaching is enriched with some hours of lessons in English provided by guest foreign professors who collaborate with the research group, on the topics of environmental radioactive contamination and on the part of nuclear reactors.
The guided visit to the Applied Nuclear Energy Laboratory - LENA of the University of Pavia is also carried out, as a practical exercise on the topics of operational radiation protection, presented during the teaching.
Teaching Resources
· M. Pelliccioni, "Fondamenti fisici della radioprotezione" Ed. Pitagora, Editrice Bologna.
· F.H. Attix, W.C. Roesch, "Radiation Dosimetry", Accademic Press - New York.
· Moe, "Elementi di Fisica Sanitaria", Ed. CNEN, Serie Manuali.
· Evans, "The Atomic Nucleus", Mc Graw Hill.
· G.F. Knoll, "Radiation Detection and Measurement", 3rd Ed., New York, John Wiley & Sons.
· Amaldi, "Fisica delle Radiazioni", Boringhieri Editore.
· F. Groppi "lecture notes on the Health Physics Course"
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an interview lasting an average of about an hour and includes an oral discussion on the topics covered in the teaching, aimed at ascertaining the level of understanding achieved in relation to the subject matter. The exam starts from notional questions and develops in such a way that the candidate demonstrates the real mastery of the subject by discussing and critically linking all the topics covered in the teaching: it starts from a concrete case of use of ionizing radiation and the student must be able to solve it by putting everything presented in the teaching into play.
FIS/07 - APPLIED PHYSICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Educational website(s)
on demand via e-mail
At LASA - Segrate or at Physics Department