Steve Webb (medical physicist)

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Prof. Steve Webb
Hon FIPEM Hon MDGMP Hon DSc (Med)
Born Steven Webb
(1948-11-26) 26 November 1948 (age 69)
Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Alma mater Imperial College London

Prof. Steve Webb (born 26 November 1948) is a British medical physicist and writer. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Physics at the Joint Department of Physics in the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital.[1]


Steve Webb was born and grew up at Swindon in Wiltshire. He studied at Imperial College London, where he was awarded a BSc (1st class honours) in 1970 and a PhD in 1973. The subject of his doctoral studies was cosmic-ray physics.[2]

Webb's former colleague Robert Speller, who later became head of radiation physics at University College London, had moved into the field of medical physics. This encouraged Webb to consider a career in the same field and, after consultations with his friend, he applied for a job at the Royal Marsden Hospital. Early on he worked in the field of CT. Webb and his colleagues built a CT scanner by cannibalizing a radioisotope scanner. He then moved on to research in nuclear medicine, with one of the hospital's first PET scanners (named MUPPET) housed in a freight container on a lorry in the car park.[2]

Arguably, Webb's most important work was on radiation therapy and included treatment planning and intensity-modulated and image-guided radiotherapies. In 1989 Webb published an important paper on radiotherapy treatment planning (Phys. Med. Biol. 34 1349) and went on to publish more than 150 papers on radiotherapy.[2]

In 1996 Webb was granted a professorship at the Royal Marsden and two years later he became head of the Joint Department of Physics. As Editor-in-Chief of the journal Physics in Medicine & Biology, Webb has been the journal's most published author.[2]

Prof. Webb retired in September 2011.


In June 2012, at a ceremony in Strasbourg, France, Webb was awarded the EFOMP Medal. EFOMP, the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics, presents the medal in recognition of "an individual's outstanding and internationally acknowledged contribution to the advancement of medical physics". In addition to receiving the award Prof. Webb delivered a presentation entitled "New technology for image-guided radiation therapy and for IMRT delivery, including compensating for organ motion".[1]

Peter Sharp, the president of EFOMP, commented:

"One of the roles of EFOMP is to recognize those scientists in Europe who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of medical physics. Many patients have benefited from Steve's scientific work in radiotherapy physics; generations of young physicists have been enthused by his teaching – particularly at the European School of Medical Physics that EFOMP supports – and his editorship of Physics in Medicine & Biology has raised the profile of the scientific contribution that physics makes to medicine. The Council of EFOMP was, therefore, unanimous in the view that the EFOMP medal should be awarded to Steve Webb."[1]

In September 2014 Prof. Webb was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine in recognition of "outstanding contributions to radiotherapy physics, to teaching and to scientific publishing". Prof. Stephen Keevil, President of the IPEM, said, "This is the highest honour that IPEM can bestow. We award Honorary Fellowships very sparingly, in recognition of those who have made a truly positive and lasting impact."[3]

In 2016 Webb was awarded Honorary Membership of the DGMP (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Physik e.V.), the German Society for Medical Physics.[4] He is the first non-German to be so elected and the award was presented in September 2016 in Würzburg. Also in September 2016 he was awarded the degree of DSc (Med) Honoris Causa by the University of London.

Personal life[edit]

Steve Webb is married with two adult sons. His leisure interests include railway modelling and Renaissance musical instruments.[2]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Steve Webb awarded EFOMP Medal". Medical Physics Web. IOP Publishing. 21 Jun 2012. Retrieved 9 Jan 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Jon, Ruffle (4 Dec 2008). "Steve Webb: a life in a day". Medical Physics Web. IOP Publishing. Retrieved 9 Jan 2014. 
  3. ^ "IPEM awards three Honorary Fellowships". IPEM news. May 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.  A photograph of the presentation appears at the bottom of the following web page: "IPEM Conferences & Events". IPEM. 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  4. ^ List of DMGM Honorary Members (in German). Retrieved 18 September 2016.