Calum MacAulay

Head, Cancer Imaging Department, British Columbia Cancer Agency and Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC

Audio File

What is your physics education

What was your physics education?

The usual; B.Sc. honours Engineering Physics from Dal, M.Sc. Physics from Dal, and Ph.D. Physics from UBC

Other education and skills?

Other education/experience?

A lot of on the job training in biology, medicine and molecular biology. Working in a Cancer research centre, this would take the form of attending lectures and presentations, teaching courses and working as part of multidisciplinary groups.

What is was your first job, was it a physics job, did you use your physics background?

How did you get your first job? Was it a physics job? Did you use your physics background?

First summer job was as part of an Engineering physics coop program and was at a company which made sonaboys for the Canadian and US navy. I worked in the test and development lab.

First full time job was as research scientist at the BC cancer agency. I got the job as a continuation of my graduate work (my thesis work had led to the creation of a spin-off company, from which the department I was working in received a large enough research grant/contract to pay my salary and others).

What were your subsequent job searches, career changes etc

Describe subsequent job searches and career changes.

No changes, just moved up the ladder over time.

Memorable physics moments

What was your most memorable physics moment?

While working on a Saturday night with a close colleague with family waiting to go to dinner, we started to get extremely good results from an 2.5 year old experiment for the automated classification of cervical smears using automated image cytometry. We called home and told them we were not coming home for some time. We were both very excited over the results but did not trust them. We spent the night proving they were overly good because of over training on the data. We expanded the data set (another three year effort) and we eventually got good clinically reliable results, however the rollercoaster of initial excitement and disappointment of that night will remain with both of us forever.

Which parts of your physics education have been most useful

Which parts of your physics education have been the most useful?

The mathematical tools, experimental physics courses and critical thought process.

Courses you should have paid more attention to

Courses you should have paid more attention to...

Optics and mathematical methods for physicists

Courses you wish had been available

Courses you wish had been available...

Biomedical optics, Physics in biology(graduate level), Medical Imaging.

Differences between jobs that a person with a MSc can get versus BSc, or PhD vs MSc etc

Differences between jobs for graduates with MSc vs BSc or PhD vs MSc?

The difference between a BSc and a MSc seems to be the salary the person starts at or the level of research assistant or junior research position one can get. The step from a MSc to a PhD is a large one in that self directing research positions (research scientists, senior research positions within companies) only seem to be available to those with a PhD.

Family issues

Family issues?