50 Prominent Medical Physicists

Brad Roth
3 min readFeb 10
Fifty Outstanding Medical Physicists

In 2014, to mark its 50th anniversary, the International Organization for Medical Physics published a list of 50 medical physicists who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical physics over the last 50 years. I thought it would be interesting to see how many Russ Hobbie and I mention in Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.

Hardly any. Only 11 of these 50 prominent medical physicists appear in IPMB.

  1. Peter R. Almond, of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, helped develop cancer treatments using photons, electrons, and neutrons. IPMB cites his paper “Review of Electron Beam Therapy Physics” (Physics in Medicine & Biology, Volume 51, Pages R455-R489, 2006) coauthored with Kenneth Hogstrom.
  2. F. Herbert Attix worked at the Naval Research Laboratory and then the University of Wisconsin. IPMB cites Attix a dozen times, primarily for his landmark textbook Introduction to Radiological Physics and Radiation Dosimetry.
  3. John Cameron was the father of the medical physics PhD program at the University of Wisconsin. IPMB cites his book Physics of the Body.
  4. Aaron Fenster, of the University of Western Ontario, co-founded a microCT company eventually sold to GE Healthcare. Russ and I cite his paper with Paul Carson about the “Evolution of Ultrasound Physics and the Role of Medical Physicists in the AAPM and its Journal in that Evolution” (Medical Physics, Volume 36, Pages 411–428, 2008).
  5. William Hendee, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, coauthored over thirty books. IPMB cites one of them, written with E. Russell Ritenour: Medical Imaging Physics.
  6. Godfrey Hounsfield won a Nobel Prize for developing X-ray computed tomography, a central topic in Chapters 12 and 16 of IPMB.
  7. Willi Kalender, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, introduced volumetric spiral computer tomography. IPMB cites his book Computed Tomography: Fundamentals, System Technology, Image Quality and Applications.
  8. Paul Lauterbur won a Nobel Prize for the invention of magnetic resonance imaging, the main topic of Chapter 18 in IPMB.
  9. Peter Mansfield shared the Nobel Prize with Lauterbur, primarily for his contributions to MRI, including echo-planar imaging.
  10. Colon Orton, of Wayne State University, studied radiotherapy and was active in the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. In IPMB, Russ and I cite three of his “Point/Counterpoint” articles in Medical Physics, for which he served as moderator.
  11. Peter Wells, of Cardiff University, pioneered techniques using ultrasound imaging, the topic of Chapter 13 in IPMB. Russ and I cite his paper “Ultrasound Imaging” (Physics in Medicine and Biology, Volume 51, Pages R83-R98, 2006).

Another eight don’t appear in IPMB but have been mentioned in this blog: Anders Brahme, John Cunningham, Charles Mistretta, Ervin Podgorsak, Madan Rehani, Jean-Claude Rosenwald, Jacob Van Dyk, and Steve Webb. I’m not familiar with the other 31. I guess I don’t know as much as I thought I did. 😮 You can find the entire list here.


As I was posting this article on my blog, it occurred to me that the list of 50 medical physicists came out about ten years ago, and that I ought to update it to 60 outstanding medical physicists in the last 60 years. Here are my additional ten. I tried to honor the spirit of the list by restricting myself to those who worked in the era from 1963 to 2023, but I couldn’t resist going back just a little further to select a few who worked in the 1950s.

  1. Paul Callaghan developed microscopic MRI
  2. Hermann Carr proposed using gradients to image with magnetic resonance
  3. Allan Cormack won the Nobel Prize for his work on computed tomography
  4. Raymond Damadian performed early work on developing MRI
  5. Erwin Hahn discovered the nuclear magnetic resonance spin echo
  6. Eric Hall is the author of Radiobiology for the Radiologist
  7. John Hubbell compiled data on photon cross sections and attenuation coefficients
  8. Harold Johns is a coauthor of The Physics of Radiology
  9. Faiz Khan is the author of The Physics of Radiation Therapy
  10. William Oldendorf was a pioneer in computed tomography

Originally published at http://hobbieroth.blogspot.com.

Brad Roth

Professor of Physics at Oakland University and coauthor of the textbook Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.