Courses

NOTE: For those courses with prerequisite course requirements, the prerequite may be taken concurrently with that course. If there are any questions about prerequisite requirements for courses, consult the Course Director for clarification.

RASC-500 Radiation Science (4 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Benevides

This course covers the principles of radiation science which are relevant to health physics and nuclear nonproliferation. Lectures will include atomic structure, nuclear structure, radioactivity, interactions of radiation with matter, production of x-rays, sources of radiation, radiation quantities and radiation dosimetry. Sample class schedule.

RASC-502 Radiation Protection (3 credits)

[formerly RASC-501 Health Physics]

Course Director: Dr. Jorgensen

This course provides in-depth coverage of the fundamental principles that drive health physics practice and radiation protection guidelines. Students gain a detailed understanding of the biological and physiological factors that influence radiation protection strategies. Internally ingested, breathed, and absorbed radioactivity are be covered in depth, including organ-specific dose calculations resulting from organ seeking radioisotopes. External radiation exposures are assessed, including considerations of how source geometry affects whole body and organ dosimetry. The relationships between biological, physical, and effective half-lives of radioisotopes are explained, chracterized, and calculated. Radiation quality weighting factors are discussed. Distinctions between dose, equivalent dose, and effective dose are explained and calculated. The use of time, distance, and shielding as tools in radiation protection are reviewed. COURSE REQUIREMENTS: A mid-term and final exam, as well as a short classroom presentation on an assigned topic are required. Successful completion of optional problem sets earns extra credit. PREREQUITES: RASC-500 or equivalent. Sample class schedule.

RASC-520 Radiation Biology (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Jorgensen

This is a graduate level biology course open to all Georgetown graduate students, radiation oncology residents, and qualified undergraduate upperclassmen. The focus of this course is on the interactions of ionizing radiations with living matter, including in-depth discussions of biochemical and cellular events leading to detectable radiation injury to cells, tissues, organs, whole body systems, and human populations. Both radiation public health and clinical practice issues are addressed. This course is required for the Master of Science in Health Physics degree, and it is required for all residents in the Georgetown University Hospital radiation oncology residency program. It can also be taken for elective credit by Tumor Biology graduate students, and students in other Georgetown graduate programs with the permission of their advisor. COURSE REQUIREMENTS: A mid-term and final exam, as well as a short classroom presentation on an assigned topic are required. Successful completion of optional problem sets earns extra credit. PREREQUITES: RASC-500 recommended, but not required. Sample class schedule.

RASC-530 Cancer Risk Assessment (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Jorgensen

This course covers the scientific principles underlying the assessment and quantification of the cancer risks posed by environmental agents. The focus is on ionizing radiation risks and how they compare with risks from chemical carcinogens. The various methodologies for conducting cellular, animal, and human risk studies are explored, and issues such as the weight of evidence and the level of uncertainty are discussed. The role of risk assessment in risk communication, public policy, and the regulatory process, is reviewed. There are also case studies of environmental breast cancer, electromagnetic fields, and radon in homes. Open to all graduate students, and undergraduates with Course Director's permission. COURSE REQUIREMENTS: A mid-term and final exam, as well as a short classroom presentation on an assigned topic are required. Successful completion of optional problem sets earns extra credit. PREREQUISITES: RASC-500 or RASC-520 recommended but not mandatory. Sample class schedule.

RASC-540 Molecular Basis of Carcinogenesis (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Kasid

An in-depth discussion of the fundamental and the advanced understanding of the mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Various biological, chemical and physical carcinogens will be discussed. Lecture topics also include damage-responsive signal transduction, molecular biology of carcinogen-induced programmed cell death, repair mechanisms, tumor suppression, oncogenes, and molecular diagnosis of inherited disorders.

RASC-560 Introduction to Nuclear Nonproliferation (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Finucane

This is an introductory course and will cover a wide area of technical topics. Basic areas such as nuclear fission, nuclear weapon types, the nuclear fuel cycle, types of nuclear reactors and their relevance to proliferation issues will be covered in this introduction course. The course will also cover areas with a direct relationship to the development of and proliferation of nuclear weapons: dual use technologies (uranium enrichment & irradiated fuel reprocessing). The course will also cover the history of nuclear proliferation and the "nuclear non-proliferation regime," legal issues associated with proliferation, international safeguards, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), nations of proliferation concerns and current issues in the nonproliferation regime. Some of these topics will also be covered in greater depth in more advanced courses.

RASC-600 Environmental Health Physics (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Smith

The main focus of this course is on environmental radioactivity and radiation protection. This course will prepare the students to deal with issues associated with the environmental radiation background, radiation accidents, environmental restoration and clean-up.

RASC-650 Radiation Detection (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Benevides

Laboratory course in which the student will achieve hands-on familiarity with typical detectors, electronics and spectral analysis software used in radiation detection, including: Geiger Mueller counters, solid state detectors for alpha and beta particle detection, sodium iodide scintillation gamma-ray detectors and High Purity Germanium gamma-ray detectors. PREREQUITES: RASC-500 or equivalent.

RASC-770 Nuclear Weapons DETECTION AND Production Cycle (4 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Smith

This course will cover the properties of nuclear and radiological weapons, scenarios for their acquisition and transport, and detection methods and technologies. The course will emphasize nuclear weapons detection topics, such as passive and active detection of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) and Weapon Grade Plutonium (WGP), gamma ray and neutron spectroscopy, remote radiation sensors, cargo monitoring and the monitoring of radiation transients. The course will cover basic nuclear weapons designs, US and Russian nuclear weapons production complexes, components of the nuclear weapons production cycle, commonalities and distinctions between commercial nuclear fuel cycles and nuclear weapons material cycles, and methods for producing weapons materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium).

RASC-760 Indicators of Nuclear Proliferation (3 credits)

Course Director: Dr. Finucane

This course will cover indicators of the development of nuclear weapons. The focus of the analysis in this course will be on states that are classified as non-nuclear weapon states. (The nuclear weapon states and those states outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which have already developed nuclear weapons are excluded from the analysis since the development of nuclear weapons in those states has already happened). Topics to be covered include: weapon materials and how they are acquired, identification of states which may aspire to have nuclear weapons and the motivation of those states, the nuclear non-proliferation regime including the NPT and related United Nations Security Council Resolutions, clandestine nuclear weapons testing, signatures and indicators of nuclear proliferation, international inspections and safeguards and monitoring technologies. Most reading assignments will be taken from recent issues of important related technical journals.

RASC-900, 901, 902 Health Physics Internship I, II, III (1-3 credits)

The student gains first-hand working experience in health physics by conducting projects under the guidance of health physicists at Georgetown University and/or other Washington-area institutions.

RASC-910 Environmental Health Physics Internship (3 credits)

The same as Health Physics Internship, but focused on environmental radiation protection.

RASC-998 Nuclear Nonproliferation Internship (0 credits)

This internship will last approximately 6 months and will be done on- or off-campus. Opportunities for internships will be available at the Department of Energy (DOE), national laboratories, or other facilities in the US or abroad.

Electives

LAWG-755-08 Nuclear Nonproliferation Law (2 credits)

The greatest current threat to our nation is nuclear terrorism. This course will provide students with an understanding of the current matrix of nuclear non-proliferation laws, treaties, agreements, initiatives, organizations and proposals that aim to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and prevent nuclear terrorism. Nuclear Non-proliferation Law and Policy is a blend of national security, statutory, and regulatory law, coupled with international law and negotiations. Students will review the existing nuclear non-proliferation framework to include, inter alia, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the proposed Fissle Material Cutoff Treaty, Export Control statutes and regulations, and the roles of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Conference on Disarmament. The course will also briefly cover nuclear arms control issues. Prerequisites: RASC-560 or RASC-760

SEST-650-01 Nuclear Weapons: History, Strategy, and Technology (3 credits)

This course examines the effects of nuclear weapons on the conduct of international politics. The main learning goal of the course is to give students a sufficient historical, technical, and theoretical background to allow them to understand and assess the key debates regarding nuclear weapons that the U.S. will likely face in the coming decades. The course begins by examining the physical properties of nuclear weapons; the characteristics of various delivery systems and command and control arrangements; and other fundamental issues stemming from the possession of nuclear weapons. We then explore evidence from World War II and the Cold War to address basic questions of nuclear deterrence and war fighting: Why did the U.S. drop atomic bombs on Japan? Why did the U.S. and the Soviet Union build such large nuclear arsenals? What did the superpowers actually plan to do with these weapons if war came? How did nuclear weapons fit into U.S. and Soviet military strategy at various phases of the Cold War? How much was enough to deter nuclear use? The course then turns to the practical challenge of nuclear targeting. We will learn the procedures and formulas for calculating the lethality of nuclear weapons, examine the difference (or lack thereof) between counterforce and countervalue targeting, learn how to aggregate outcomes against a large target set, explore the relationship between warhead yield and accuracy, and discuss various problems of fratricide, timing, warning, and target intelligence. The last weeks explore the effect nuclear weapons might have on international politics and U.S. foreign policy in the years ahead. We examine the causes and impact of proliferation, prospects for counterproliferation, and impact of the shifting strategic nuclear balance. We ask: Will the U.S. and China engage in a nuclear arms race? What are the requirements for stable deterrence in an era of U.S. primacy? How dangerous is nuclear proliferation to states like Iran? Are there plausible situations in which the United States might use nuclear weapons? We will also consider the argument that nuclear weapons are essentially irrelevant today. No prior technical skills or knowledge about nuclear or military strategy is necessary for the course. Prerequisites: RASC-560 or RASC-760

MICB-525 Homeland Security (3 credits)

This course examines threats to the US homeland, how they might evolve over the next ten years, and the consequent implications for technology and homeland security. The course examines the motivations of non-state actors to threaten the US homeland, how those actors might use technology and exploit vulnerabilities to attack the US, and the role of technology in countering these threats and securing the homeland.

BIST-501 Introductory Biostatistics: Experimental Design and Analysis (3 credits)

This course is designed for introductory biostatistical theory and application for students pursuing a master's degree in fields outside of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics. Students first learn the four pillars of exploring and displaying data appropriately, exploring relationships between two variables, issues of gathering sample data, and understanding randomness and probability. On these pillars, students then can develop the platform for statistical inference including proportions and means, multiple regression, and ANOVA.

BIST-505 Epidemiology and Public Health (3 credits)

Epidemiology is the scientific discipline of public health. It therefore plays a central role in the identification, characterization, and control of risk factors for human diseases. The course will begin with an overview of the history of epidemiology, followed by consideration of chronic and acute disease rates by time, place, and person, and how the major types of epidemiological study designs (cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, and randomized trials) address these public health concerns. The course will provide information on the basic methods of analysis associated with the study design, with an emphasis on critically reading and evaluating the epidemiological literature. Special topics, such as screening studies, cancer epidemiology and prevention, and infectious diseases will also be introduced. This course includes lectures and discussion sessions.

PHYS-501 Sensors and Sensing (2 credits)

The basics of sensors and instrumentation will be covered, including sensor properties, precision and accuracy, and control and interfacing. The physical principles of electrical, mechanical, optical, magnetic, and chemical sensing will be reviewed. Applications to the measurement of position, velocity, acceleration, force, strain, pressure, flow, electrical and thermal transport, electromagnetic radiation, and temperature will be discussed.

PHYS-502 Advanced characterization methods (2 credits)

Techniques of characterization of materials will be demonstrated and analyzed. Tools for structural characterization, including X-ray, SEM, and TEM, surface analysis, including Auger, LEED, SIMS, and scanning probe microscopies, and chemical analysis, such as mass spectroscopy and optical spectroscopy, will be described.

PHYS-503 Computational Techniques (2 credits)

This module will provide an introduction to the theory and application of the basic techniques of computational science. Topics will be chosen from root-finding, matrix operations, integration of ordinary and partial differential equations (including spectral methods). Students are expected to know how to develop programs in a modern language before taking this course.

PHYS-504 Numerical Simulation Techniques (1.5 credits)

A continuation of Physics 503, including topics chosen from molecular \ dynamics, Monte Carlo techniques, variational methods, density functional theory, computational biology, and parallel computing.

INAF-505 Science and Technology in the Global Arena (3 credits)