The famous blind superhero Daredevil was created in 1964 by the comic books writer Stan Lee and by the memorable artist Bill Everett. His alter ego, the attorney Matt Murdock, fights injustice in institutional courts by day and by night he fights as the fearless vigilante in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

A young Matt Murdock is hit in New York by a crazed pickup truck carrying radioactive material, while in the act of saving an elderly man who was crossing the street. Fate wills for one of the drums to hit the boy in the face causing him to lose his sight but amplifying the remaining senses, in particular hearing, giving him a super amplified radar sense, which almost completely compensates for his blindness.

Let’s start from this superhero to discuss of the discovery of radioactivity and its history in the real world, how it was almost immediately applied to the medical field and how its progress in hospital environments has evolved thanks to the contributions of the medical physics specialist figure.

In 1896 the French physicist Henry Bequerel was studying the phosphorescence of some materials when he noticed that photographic plates left close to Uranium salts were exposed even in the absence of light, which is due to the particles emitted by the salts themselves. Thus, he discovered natural radioactivity, a discovery that earned him the Nobel Prize in 1903.

Today the radionuclides used in medicine are artificially produced, they are administered to patients both for diagnostic purposes (to obtain morphological but above all functional information on organs and tissues) and for radio therapeutic purposes, as they are able to reach tumour lesions and locally release energy that destroys their cells.

Unlike radiology, the expression “nuclear medicine” generally bothers patients and generates fears and anxiety because it reminds of catastrophes such as atomic bomb explosions or accidents in nuclear power plants as the ones in Chernobyl or Fukushima. However, in actuality, nuclear medicine procedures can be carried out in complete safety, and this is one of the tasks of the Medical Physicist in the hospital. The Medical Physicist is not only concerned with ensuring the quality of the equipment used and calculating the dose of radiation absorbed by patients, but also with the safety management, including checks of contaminated radio waste that are inevitably result from the procedures.