September 10-11, 2015 - Menlo Park, CA. This year, Core Physics Review partnered with residency coordinators, chief residents, and program directors across North America to bring radiology physics to more than forty noon conferences over just two days. With separate sessions for each of four time zones, the live one-hour session featured interactive audience polling with PowerPoint (similar to the April 2016 four-day review) and whiteboard teaching (similar to the archived foundational lectures for institutional subscribers). Survey questions at the beginning of each lecture queried the audience on training stage, post-graduation plans, and anxiety level with Core physics material. The physics portion of the lecture included comprehensive discussion of x-ray production, strategy for memorizing characteristic energies, and audience-interactive MCQs to convert knowledge into point-scoring capability. Missed out on the action? Check out the full noon conference below and download lecture materials.
Title: Opening Lecture: Strategy & X-Ray Production
Notes: Once the video starts, click the gear symbol in the bottom right to select 1080p quality and variable playback speed. One of the other icons will allow you to view the lecture in full screen.
Audience Polling Results
Results from audience polling at the beginning of the lectures generally showed a predominance of R1 to R3 residents at the noon conferences, with some R4 and other attendees present. Residents were equally interested in academic and private practice jobs, with a scattering of residents voting for business/startup, research-only, and other jobs. Srinivasan encouraged residents to think about the practical relevance of learning clinically-oriented physics to their post-residency plans. Anxiety for Core physics ranged uniformly from no symptoms to severe symptoms, validating emotions at every level of stress.
X-Ray Production Concepts
Transitioning to the whiteboard, the physics component of the lecture opened by explaining the x-ray photon as a packet of energy. Plotting the distribution of photon energies coming from an x-ray tube, Srinivasan described essential features of the Energy Spectrum graph. The lecture then covered the conservation-of-energy perspective on the x-ray tube, explaining how increasing tube voltage results in higher energy x-ray photons by more forcefully accelerating electrons into the metal anode target. By examining braking versus characteristic radiation, residents connected x-ray production mechanisms to the broad and narrow components of the energy spectrum. To conclude the whiteboard section, the lecture introduced k-shell binding energy as a tool for easily identifying characteristic radiation values on multiple choice questions. K-shell binding energies for key metals were covered, including Molybdenum (Mo), Rhodium (Rh), Silver (Ag), Tungsten (W), Iodine (I), and Barium (Ba).
At the end of the lecture, Srinivasan assigned homework to the residents, as they embarked on their journey into clinically-relevant radiology physics. Here were the action items:
- 1. Register for Core Physics Coach (free). Last year, we posted short video clips. This year, we'll send out one email per month starting late October to keep you on track.
- 2. Reserve your seat at the April 2016 Core Physics Review (Cambridge, MA or Palo Alto, CA). Registration includes a free copy of Radiology Simplified.
- 3. Review x-ray production in Radiology Simplified, where you'll see only the minimal set of information you'll need for the core exam.