Radiation and You: The Good, the Bad, the Unknown

This is a 10-week seminar, starting on September 25th, 2017.

Moderator:                Monroe Rabin
Day and Time:         Monday 2:00-4:00PM
Format:                       Seminar
Location:                   Smith College, Dewey Hall Common, Northampton
(parking permit required; provided to participants by moderator)

The purpose is to introduce the layperson to the basic concepts of radiation, its measurement, its benefits, and its hazards. To what extent do you have to worry about radiation exposure in daily activities, and with medical procedures?

We will cover the following topics:

1. What is radiation?
2. How is radiation measured? The units of radiation dose
3. What are the sources of radiation and radiation exposure?
4. Beneficial uses of radiation (e.g., CT scans, cancer treatment)
5. Biology: the cell cycle. Generation of cancer
6. Radiation exposure hazards
7. Is there a minimum dose below which there is no need to worry?
The Linear No Threshold model, and controversies surrounding it.

Role of participants:
Participants will prepare material for presentation to the group at each meeting. I anticipate that there will be 2 presentations/meeting, each followed by group discussion of the topic presented.

I will provide copies of essential selections from a text, Introduction to Physics in Modern Medicine, 2nd edition, by Suzanne Amador Kane. This text was written to be used in a one-semester course in medical physics for students with no background in the natural sciences, which I will assume also describes people registering for this seminar.

I will also provide copies of relevant material from magazine articles, etc.

In addition, there is much material available on the web on the subjects we will cover in this seminar. I will provide web references (URLs) that can be used as starting points for exploration of these topics.

About the Moderators:
Monroe is a Professor of Physics, Emeritus, UMass. In 1986-87, he was the Soriano Research Scholar in Radiological Physics, Dept. of Radiation Medicine, Mass General Hospital. He has taught a senior-level course in Medical Physics at UMass.

Maximum number of participants: 12

Emeritus/a accepted: yes, up to 2, if there at least 10 regular participants