X-ray research develops more than just medicine

It was my first day at UCL. In the morning the induction was much the same as any other departments. Talks on plagiarism, university policies, timetabling/deadlines, and marking schemes. It got real when researchers started giving talks on their projects.

What really encapsulated the essence of why I wanted to apply physics to medicine was a talk on diffraction imaging with X-rays. This is where the scattered beam produces a diffraction pattern which is then used to reconstruct the image via an algorithm. The main selling point of this is that you can get away with a lower dose of radiation. However, it doesn’t stop there. This technique can also detect plastics so the research team is also working with the department of homeland security for detecting plastic bomb detonators. But wait! There’s another use! This technique also detects stresses and strains that cannot be seen by conventional methods on aeroplane materials so the aviation industry is also interested in this technique for materials testing.

 

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The Fourier transform: used for processing signals. Fourier has transformed the world with his math in countless ways.

 

This is why I love physics, coding, and engineering. The skills you learn cannot only be applied to other fields, they can be a game changer in many different fields. Others may want to live their lives the way they see fit and interpret freedom in whatever sense makes them happy as long as they do not harm others. To me, combining the transferable skills of logical proofs and mechanics of the universe with the brute force of computing is freedom. It’s the freedom to influence multiple fields, and it’s the freedom to make the impossible possible!

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