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Why Should I Eat My Carrots? Medical Physics role models

Medical physics uses science to help figure out what is making people ill and how to make them better again. Medical physicists work really closely with doctors, they are often in charge of taking pictures of the inside of our bodies (called scans) and using radiation in hospitals to help treat patients.

Name: Dr Rebecca Dewey.

Job: Senior Research Fellow in Neuroimaging at the University of Nottingham.

What three words would you use to describe yourself? Persistent, approachable, busy!

What inspired you to choose your job?
I watched science on TV – things like the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and Tomorrow’s World – and thought “I want to do that!”. I remember being in awe of role models including Nancy Rothwell and Susan Greenfield, who got to travel the world and talk about their discoveries.

What is the best thing about what you do? I use MRI scanners to explore the human brain and showing people pictures of their brain is great! I also get to travel the world and work flexibly.

Is your job hard or dangerous or fun? It’s quite “full-on” – I wouldn’t say it’s hard because anyone could do it if you’re stubborn enough! I find it really fun, but it might not suit everyone! I get to play with big, million-pound magnets – so it shouldn’t be dangerous unless you’re doing something silly.

Name: Sam Pilkington.

Job: Diagnostic Radiography student (using technology like X-rays to work out if someone has an illness or injury).

What three words would you use to describe yourself? Attentive, inquisitive, hardworking.

How did you get to where you are now?
I never knew what I wanted to do as a career growing up. I did a degree in Biochemistry, then worked in science communication for several years. I met many interesting people, including radiographers, and was able to research their job and decided to choose it for myself. It’s the perfect blend of looking after patients and understanding how to use physics principles and complex technology to help them.

Is your job hard or dangerous or fun?
It can be hard to learn, as you have to know a lot about both physics and the human body. It could be dangerous, but we have lots of safety measures in place now. As long as you make sure you follow all the instructions, everyone’s safe. It's definitely fun! I love getting to meet patients and hear their stories. It also feels great to be able to send good images to the doctors, because I know these give the doctor the best chance to figure out what’s happening with the patient.

What are the people you work with like?
Everyone is different, just like any other job. What unites us is that we’re all compassionate, resilient, and we want to do our best for our patients. We know we all add to the team, and we embrace and celebrate each other’s strengths.