Advice · Prerequisites

Why Should Pre-Meds Take: PHYSICS


While talking with others, I’ve had a lot of new pre-meds ask me, why is physics required for medical school?  How does physics apply to what I will be doing as a doctor?

First of all, physics is a major portion of the MCAT so knowing the principles behind physics will help you with a portion of the score you will sending off to potential medical schools.  Aside from that, physics has a lot to do with many aspects of life, especially with medicine.

Like I mentioned before, physics relates to absolutely everything in life because the very laws of nature follow what we have discovered in physics. Here are some examples to topics in physics that relate to what you might find in relation to the medical field:

  • Kinematics and Flow
    • In relation to the human body for example, the heart works against the forces of gravity by using flow of blood though different sizes of blood vessels and the velocity of the blood that pumps through, from your head down to your toes and back again.
  • Electricity and Magnetism
    • The nervous system is able to carry signals to different parts of the body through electrical currents.  Currents are made when you have movement of positive particles and negative particles from one side of a plate to another.  This is similar to the action potential within nerves when sodium and potassium ions move in and out of the cell membrane of the axon.
  • Refraction and Reflection
    • For those who may get into ophthalmology or perhaps optometry, this is an important topic for you as it deals with how light bends in mediums and reflects off of different types of surfaces.  This is perfect for seeing how the lens of the eye works in order to bend the light into hitting the retina at the back of the eye.  For those who may have farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism, an understanding of the laws of refraction and reflection helped your optometrist better prescribe the best set of glasses or contact lenses for your perscription.
  • Quantum Mechanics and Waves
    • Have you ever heard of x-rays?  Those types of waves and other waves of light as well as their particles are used a ton with machines found in hospitals all around the country.  Also knowing the chemical makeup and molecular structure of things on the atomic level can help one interpret how drugs, toxins and bacteria behave and interact when in the presence of the cells of the human body.

These are some ideas that I have come up with upon taking physics for myself, as well as when I spoke with my professors more on the topic.  I am sure that there are even more topics in physics that relate to the healthcare field, but hopefully this gets rid of any doubts there are about the usefulness of physics for medical school.

Do any of you have some examples of how physics relates to medicine, biology or any other aspect of the healthcare field?  Feel free to leave a comment below and share.



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