2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||Advanced Labs in Biomedical Physics to Extend the Boundaries of the Traditional Physics Major
||Statistics show that about 75% of all physics departments offer a bachelor's as their highest degree, but produce only 45% of all the physics bachelor's degree. There is also a clear trend for physics students to take additional course work for a double major, or to change major. Thus, although the number of students enrolled in physics graduate programs has been steadily increasing, small to medium departments struggle with low enrollment and are commonly forced to reduce their degree offerings to just the bachelor's. In order to be competitive and to accommodate the current tendency, we proposed to offer a number of flexible tracks towards a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Physics with a number of different Areas of Emphasis (AoE), in addition to a traditional standard BS in Physics. Among those, starting the Fall of 2012, the physics department at Marshall University will offer two new areas of emphasis: in Bio and Medical physics - designed for those who are interested in future study in biophysics, medical physics, biotechnology, or medicine. The backbone of the AoEs is the Biomedical Physics course PHY 350, an ambitious core III, 4 credits course, which combines lecture and advanced labs providing a description of physics methods important to modern biology and medicine. During the labs, students study thermal imaging with the use of infrared camera, computed tomography by the X-ray apparatus, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy with the NMR spectrometer. A Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program was recently approved and made possible for the acquisition of an Atomic Force Microscope. Another MRI program for a state-of-the-art Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectrometer is under consideration by NSF. If funded, new labs will be added, to explore the radiation damage in biological systems by detecting, identifying, and characterizing radicals in the sample. Therefore, initially centered on exploring physics applications for medicine, the course will be extended to include new physics and modern experiments in cellular biology.
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