The Physicists that Inspire Us

Celebrating International Day of Medical Physics with a nod to those that have inspired us. Enter to win an electron tree!

November 7th is an important day for our community, one in which we celebrate the collective contributions of medical physicists in healthcare. From diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine to radiation therapy, the impact of medical physics in both diagnosis and treatment is broad, with physicists working to apply physical principles to solve problems in medicine.

For the lead up to this year’s International Day of Medical Physics, we asked our team to shout-out a physicist that has inspired them. And by joining us in celebrating the physicists who make a difference in our community, you could win an electron tree!

Tell us about who inspires you and why in the comments below or on social media by tagging us and you’ll be entered to win. The winner will be announced on December 7th, 2020.

Source: GIFER


Dennis Mah supervised and mentored me at ProCure in New Jersey, my first job out of residency in 2013. Dennis joined ProCure as the chief medical physicist, but at the time he had no background in protons—it was still an emerging modality. A natural educator and lifelong learner, Dennis took on the challenge of starting a proton center while immersing himself and studying proton therapy.

Dennis created a culture in the physics department that encouraged asking questions, teamwork, and urgency in patient care. I was lucky enough to sit next to Dennis in our physics cubicles, hearing stories about the field, the big names in AAPM, and nerdy jokes. Dennis has the ability to take complicated concepts and translate them into ways everyone could understand. A diligent and hard-working physicist, I admire Dennis Mah and thank him for all his contributions on Medical Physics Day!”

-Elisabeth Van Wie


“There have been a number of physicists that have had a meaningful impact in my development as a medical physicist, but one that I remember emulating a lot early in my career was Cynthia Malmer. As one of my mentors at Northwest Medical Physics Center during my internship prior to graduate school, she gave me significant trust very early, which helped develop my clinical confidence and intuition. Later I had the good fortune to work with her again after graduating and joining the group as a junior physicist. What I appreciated most about Cynthia was her practical approach to clinical problems. She was very dedicated to her craft and fastidious about the details in everything she did. It was clear to me as an intern that she truly cared about her role in the department. To her, medical physics was more than a job.”

-Tyler Blackwell


Larry Reinstein. Larry was chief physicist and mentor at my first job out of grad school. He was very good at shaping our radiation oncology center into a place where every process was focused on effectiveness and safety. The culture was one in which mistakes were not personal failings but, rather, opportunities to learn and further improve processes in ways that actually solve root problems. That style of leadership is something worth emulating.”

-Alan Nelson


Shiva Das. I had the privilege of being mentored by Dr. Das when I was a graduate student. He was a brilliant researcher and heavily involved in service to the AAPM. I was constantly amazed that, in addition to his contributions to the field, he was also a very approachable teacher who always made time for his students. His treatment planning course sparked my interest in programming and his commitment to high-quality patient care shaped my clinical practice. I would not be a medical physicist today without Dr. Das’ guidance and support!”

-Jennifer Paisley


Ed Bender was both my undergraduate and graduate advisor, and was really my inspiration for moving into the field of medical physics. He has a strong interest in the product development/research side of the field, and gave me the guidance and resources to expand both my clinical knowledge and technological experience. Whether it was shadowing during SRS treatments, submitting patents for our product designs, or working in the lab together, Ed provided the foundation for my interest and transition into industry to continue developing technologies that would positively impact patient care.”

-Jacob Beres


Charles Coffey. I was extremely lucky to be trained in Vanderbilt’s Medical Physics graduate program during Dr. Coffey’s time there. His incredible work ethic—splitting his time between being Chief Physicist, Graduate Program Director, AAPM President and Intramural Softball pitcher—was always a marvel to me. I am one of the many beneficiaries of his great teaching ability and dedication to his students, not only in their training as physicists, but in all aspects of life.”

-Kevin Tierney


Curtis Whiddon was my first boss and was really focused on making sure I learned every aspect of the clinic thoroughly and correctly—and our clinic was busy, with active HDR, LDR, SRS and SBRT programs! He also was willing to give me new projects early on (our first Big Bore acceptance/commissioning and first implementation of TG-142) and believed in me to complete the task properly. Having that level of trust early in my career helped instill confidence and grow my understanding of clinical projects. He was always willing to listen when I had new ideas and never made me feel like I was “newbie” when I started my career. I am grateful for all of the knowledge he passed on to me and for making my first job enjoyable!”

-Christine Gnaster


Bob Blackwell, a senior clinical physicist at Mayo Clinic. Very early in my career, I was working one weekend and had trouble getting the machine running. I called Bob, and he walked me through the problem. On Monday, he asked me to stop by his office. He gave me the “your job is a part of your life, not your whole life” talk. It took a while for that talk to sink in completely, to appreciate that he went out of his way to have that talk with me. This was one of numerous life chats I had with Bob, but it stuck with me. And I should mention that he’s quite the clinical physicist.”

-Andrew Jensen 


We all know someone that is an absolute all-star physicist, or one that played a big role in our careers. Who is it that inspires you? Drop a name in the comments or on social (tag us!) and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an electron tree!

Because now is a time to spread the love for physicists, keep it going by checking out Physicist Feud, where our team hams it up with a special radiation oncology version of the famous Family Feud gameshow.


Happy International Day of Medical Physics!




Terms and Conditions:

  • No purchase necessary to win. Purchase or payment of any kind will not increase your odds of winning.
  • Sweepstakes/Giveaways are open only to legal residents of the fifty {50} United States {including District of Columbia} who are at least eighteen {18} years old at the time of entry.
    The immediate family {spouse, parents, siblings and children} and household members of Radformation are not eligible.
  • Only one eligible entry per person. Extra entries will be discarded.
  • Winners are selected at random via random name picker.
  • The giveaway winner will be notified by email.
    Participants agree to be added to the monthly Radformation newsletter. Their information will not otherwise be shared.
  • If a potential winner of any prize cannot be contacted, fails to reply to the notification email within the required time period {two weeks}, potential winner forfeits prize.
    In the event that a prize winner is disqualified for any reason, the prize will be awarded to an alternate winner by random selection.
  • All prizes are non-transferable and no substitution will be made except as provided herein at the sponsor’s sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize for one of equal or greater value if the designated prize should become unavailable for any reason. Winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use.
  • By receipt of any prize, winner agrees to release and hold harmless Radformation and company’s officers, directors, employees and agents {collectively, the “Released Parties”} from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising out of participation in the Promotion or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.
  • Radformation reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the promotion, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor beyond administrator’s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the sweepstakes, as determined by administrator in its sole discretion. In such event, administrator reserves the right to award the prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment.
  • Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Terms and Conditions and sponsor’s and administrator’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the promotion.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

Leave a comment