The Annual Joel Lecture

The Joel Professor of Physics Applied to Medicine was the first chair of its kind worldwide. Prof. Sidney Russ was the first holder at UCL in the 1920s. The current chair, Prof. Robert Speller, now hosts an annual event in London to celebrate the role of medical physics in promoting global advances in healthcare. Each year, a distinguished member of the Medical Physics community is asked to review developments in their specialism to a layman audience as part of the annual Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering Open Day.

Below is online access to the last two Joel lectures.

2013 Joel Lecture - Professor Peter Wells


By Professor Peter Wells CBE FRS FREng FMedSci FLSW

School of Engineering, Cardiff University

Peter Wells

Prof. Peter Wells at Cardiff University, 2013

During the last century, the practice of medicine has been revolutionised by “imaging” –   the ability to see inside the intact human body.  Nowadays, the principal methods of clinical imaging are X-ray, radionuclide and ultrasonic techniques.  Ultrasonic imaging has a long history: it uses mechanical waves, usually with frequencies in the megahertz range.  The method can provide two- and three-dimensional anatomical images, often in real time, as well as information about tissue motion and blood flow.  Contrast agents and elasticity imaging are coming into routine clinical use, and research into computed, Doppler and photoacoustic tomography is yielding some exciting results. 

The 2013 Joel Lecture is available to watch online.

2012 Joel lecture - Professor Steve Webb


By Professor Steve Webb

Emeritus Professor, Institute of Cancer Research, London


From Left, Professors Robert Speller, Steve Webb and Jem Hebden

Professor Webb was part of the early movement in radiotherapy towards intensity modulated and arc treatment techniques, working at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, both in London. His research work has involved the development of a theoretical understanding of the physics of rotation radiotherapy, its subsequent development into clinical work and subsequent industrial partnership with equipment manufacturers to develop appropriate clinical systems for hospital delivery. This lecture aims to give a historical overview and personal account of the development of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, from its beginnings in the hands of a few workers scattered worldwide, through twenty years of growth into static- and rotation-based clinical treatments.

The 2012 Joel Lecture is available to watch online.