Health Physics Society
Accelerator Section

Matt Quinn (President '20)
Zach Olson (Newsletter Editor '20)

What is an accelerator health physicist?

An accelerator health physicist is a radiation safety professional who focuses on the radiation physics and/or worker protection (operational health physics) aspects of particle accelerator operations. At large facilities, such as the high-energy accelerators at many national laboratories, radiation physicists may design shielding, prepare accelerator operation safety envelopes, monitor configuration control and perform radiation safety system checks, conduct original research, and develop or use radiation transport computer codes. At all particle accelerator facilities, large and small, operational health physicists are on staff to support accelerator operations and ensure worker and public safety by keeping radiation exposures as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA), performing radiation surveys, accounting for radioactive material, providing personnel dosimetry, maintaining radiation detection instrumentation, monitoring and minimizing environmental impacts, and conducting radiation protection training. At small facilities, a single accelerator health physicist may be responsible for all these functions, filling the roles of both radiation physicist and operational health physicist.