“medical physics is on the vanguard of fighting cancer, one of the deadliest diseases in the world”
Growing up as a young child in Nigeria, I often found myself reflecting on the consequences of my interactions with people and asking, “Does my contact with them make them worse or better?” Naturally, my desire was for the latter, so I began to make conscious effort at making every connection count. What I didn’t know was that my resolution would frame in me a worldview where every little gracious action has a role in making the world a better place.
After secondary school, I got admission into the university to study Physics with Electronics. To be honest, before writing the qualifying exams, I had no idea of the course to exactly go for. I had gone from daydreaming about becoming a doctor, to a lawyer, a civil engineer and even a soccer player at one point in time. I ended up choosing to study Physics even though I had no clue of what I would be doing after that.
But with a firm belief that I am the master of my fate, I channeled my energy into finding out practical ways in which my course of study can be applied besides all its abstract concepts and theories. It may interest you to know that a common belief in Nigeria is that the best outlook in life for a Physics major, is to end up as a classroom teacher in the secondary school. It’s not that it is bad being a teacher and a vehicle for making the world a better place, but that is not the only end in sight for a graduate of Physics.
My short tale took on a new twist in my sophomore year at the Federal University of Technology Akure when my Dad came back from work one day and recounted an encounter with a friend. They had both discussed the opportunities that laid ahead of me in the world of Physics and, among the many suggestions made, my Dad could vivdly remember medical physics. It was the first time I was hearing of the term and so I decided to check it out. I began by finding out who a medical physicist is and what they do. Oh my! The joy I had, when I found out that it was all about helping people and giving them a better chance at living, was beyond belief.
Other jobs give an opportunity to meet and help people on the ‘surface’ but, with Physics, we can probe deep inside them with the aid of non-invasive techniques and diagnostic imaging to check for diseases and to ascertain their medical fitness. Also, Physics is on the vanguard of fighting cancer, one of the deadliest diseases in the world, using high energy photon beams and ensuring radiation safety for workers in the sector and the general public as well. What more could I ask for!
The icing on the top is that as one of the natural sciences, which keeps evolving owing to research and technological advancement, the opportunities in the field are boundless. My goal is not to limit myself to either the research or clinical practice of medical physics but to combine both. This way, I can keep abreast of latest developments and immediately bring them to bear upon my practice in the hospital setting. So, here I am today fully engrossed studying Medical Physics and fully motivated to contribute my quota to an exciting field in the service of humanity.
Oluyemi B. Aboyewa
Graduate Student, Medical Physics
Creighton University, Omaha, NE. USA