2023-2024 / PHYS3018-1

Physical bases for medicine, including physical bases for medical imaging


50h Th, 8h Pr, 20h QA Sess.

Number of credits

 Bachelor in dentistry9 crédits 
 Bachelor in medicine9 crédits 


Maryse Hoebeke

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The physics course consists of 2 units: Biophysics and medical imagery 1. Geometrical optics, esp. the physical basics of ophthalmology 2. Eletromagnetism, esp. the physical basics of electrophysiology 3. The physical basics of biomechanics, elasticity, stress and strain 4. Fluid mechanics, esp. blood flow in the circulatory system and the biophysics of the respiration 5. Thermodynamics
The application of physics in the area of medical instruments is spectacular. We have come a long way since Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1819 and Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895! Radiography, scintigraphy, tomography, ultrasonography, thermography and, more recently, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography have revolutionized the diagnostic possibilities.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Physics can be used in medicine pragmatically. Applying physical laws makes it possible to explain a great number of biological mechanisms and to remedy certain deficiencies. Physical methods used in medicine, which will have to be further explained during specialized courses, require some introduction to physics with a view to learning the key elements of physics thinking. Biological systems are real systems; like steam engines and computers, they are all subjected to physical constraints. Learning about the rules of physics allows students to understand a great number of mechanisms and advanced techniques, which will then cease being obscure concepts.The physical concepts which are the basis of several medical imaging techniques will be introduced. Students will be able to understand where the information is coming from, they will be aware of the limitations, possible artifacts and side-effects of the techniques. The course is divided in the following parts: Nuclear medicine imaging, X-ray imaging, endoscopy, thermography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasonography, signal processing, effects of ionizing radiations. The following general questions show that physics often plays a role in biology and medicine. Physical laws limit the possible uses of a microscope. It is possible to examine a liver cell, a protein or a hydrogen atom under a microscope? What does an electroencephalogram measure? What is dialysis? How can isotopic labelling be used in medicine? What dangers should be considered while using such a technique? What is the role of a pacemaker? In what biological processes does gravity play a role?

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The course requires good knowledge of secondary education-level mathematics and physics. Remedial classes classes will be organized to refresh basic knowledge and bridge the gap between secondary education and first-year university courses.A site accessible to all will allow the students to test their acquired meadow, theoretical notes, interactive resolutions of exercises, videos, etc. will allow a individualized help to the success .

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The repetition and practicals schedule will be communicated to the students at the beginning of the year. Practical class ( The microscop ,Circuit models of the cell membrane) Student have to be present at the practicals. Any absence must be justified in the week which follows the absence at the secretary's office.  Theorical  lessons will be podcasted if possible.  Question-and-answer sessions will be organized online.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

The course schedule will be available early september

Recommended or required readings

Physique expérimentale (Experimental Physics)
J. KANE & M. STERHEIM, Physique, Dunod, Paris,
fourth edition corrected by P. Ghosez, M. Hoebeke, G. Llabrès
syllabus for practical sessions
"Imagerie médicale, bases physiques" par A. Seret et M. Hoebeke, édition de l'Université de Liège

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire, open-ended questions )

Additional information:

Written examination

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Students can ask the professor physics questions outside of theoretical classes.  These sessions will take place online

  Useful information can also be found on the Internet . For questions on repetitions and laboratory classes, students can ask the relevant assistant lecturers and supervising tutors. Students can also ask for the help of a remedial tutor for the physics course. The remedial tutor is specifically in charge of bridging the gap between secondary and university education. For urgent problems, you can call Ms M. Hoebeke on her mobile: 0476 23 74 23. Administrative issues: please contact Ms Renson on 04/366 36 14.


Professeur Maryse HOEBEKE, local 1/14, Bâtiment Physique B5, tél: 04/366 36 51, GSM 0476/23 74 23, Email: M.Hoebeke@ulg.ac.be Secrétariat: C. Renson, Bâtiment Physique B5, tél: 04/366 36 14, Email: christine.renson@uliege.be Logisticien : Cristelle Prosperi, Bâtiment Physique B5, tel : 04/3663663 Email : Christelle.Prosperi@ulg.ac.be Responsable plateforme PX Marique 043663631 pxmarique@ulg.ac.be

Association of one or more MOOCs

The MOOC entitled 'Physique- Mécanique : bien entamer l'enseignement supérieur (S2)' is associated with this course.

Items online

interactive platform
online backup material as a support for the lectures and remediation platform about prerequisites