Practical Benefits of Particle Physics #1

Particle Physics vs. Cancer

  • The discovery of X-rays earned Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen the first Nobel Prize in Physics. Linear accelerators, which are small versions of the main accelerator here at SLAC, are “the most commonly used device for” X-ray irradiation of cancerous tumors.
  • Positron Emission Tomography “scans are used most often to detect cancer and to examine the effects of cancer therapy by characterizing biochemical changes in the cancer.” The positron, which is the antiparticle of the electron, was discovered by physicist Carl D. Anderson.
  • Proton & Neutron Beam Therapy
  • At CERN, physicists and physicians are studying the possibility of using antiprotons to kill cancerous cells while minimizing harm to surrounding healthy tissue.
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