Click here to

Session: In Memoriam of John "Jack" Cunningham [Return to Session]

In Memoriam of John "Jack" Cunningham

J Van Dyk1*, J Battista2*, D Rogers3*, A Ahnesjo4*, T Mackie5*, (1) Western University, London, ON, (2) London, ON, CA, (3) Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, CA, (4) Uppsala University, Uppsala, SE, (5) Madison, WI


3:30 PM Jack Cunningham and Treatment Planning from the 1960s through the 2000s - J Van Dyk, Presenting Author
3:50 PM Conceptual Overview of Megavoltage Photon Dose Calculation Algorithms - J Battista, Presenting Author
4:10 PM Monte Carlo Modelling for Radiation Dosimetry and Treatment Planning - D Rogers, Presenting Author
4:30 PM Dose and Beyond in Treatment Planning Calculations - A Ahnesjo, Presenting Author
4:50 PM The Future of Treatment Planning - T Mackie, Presenting Author
5:10 PM Discussion - J Van Dyk, Presenting Author

WE-EF-TRACK 4-0 (Wednesday, 7/28/2021) 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

This symposium will celebrate the life and accomplishments of John Robert (Jack) Cunningham O.C., B.Eng., M.Sc., Ph.D., FCCPM, FAAPM, FCOMP, one of the great pioneers in Medical Physics. His breadth and depth of Medical Physics experience and knowledge have resulted in multiple, wide-ranging contributions extending from operating a radon plant in the 1940s, to evaluating range-energy relationships for electrons from a betatron in the early 1950s, to the development of radiation therapy apparatus including the design and construction of cobalt-60 machines in the 1950s and 60s, to generating radiation-related basic quantities for dose calibration protocols in the 1970s and 80s. He co-authored The Physics of Radiology along with Harold Johns, “the Johns and Cunningham book,” generally considered as the “bible” in Medical Physics. However, his greatest and most impactful contributions started in the 1960s with his early development of dose calculation algorithms for use with computerized, clinical, radiation treatment planning programs. The algorithms used calculations of primary dose summed with differential scatter doses using quantities known as scatter-air ratios (SARs). His programs were made commercially available beginning in the 1970s evolving through various commercial enterprises, starting with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and moving through to Theratronics, MDS Nordion, and Nucletron. The principles and concepts were implemented in various other commercial systems as well.

In view of his significant contributions to Medical Physics and the resulting impact on many patients around the world, Jack has received multiple awards, including the AAPM Coolidge award in 1988, the inaugural COMP Gold Medal in 2006 and the Order of Canada, the top award given by the Canadian government for those “who exemplify citizenship and whose contributions enrich the lives of their contemporaries”. A more detailed review of Jack’s career can be found in Medical Physics:

In honor of Jack Cunningham and out of recognition of his intense desire to develop elegant physics solutions to clinical problems, this symposium will focus on radiation treatment planning-related algorithms by considering the past, evaluating the present and projecting into the future. The speakers are all acquaintances of Jack and have interacted with him at a variety of levels.

Learning Objectives
1. Learn about the contributions Jack Cunningham made to the field of Medical Physics.
2. Learn about the dose calculation algorithms developed by Jack Cunningham and their implementation in commercial treatment planning systems.
3. Learn about the state-of-the-art treatment planning and dose determination algorithms by considering the past, evaluating the present and projecting into the future.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: License agreement with Modus Medical Devices, Inc. of London, Ontario, Canada



Not Applicable / None Entered.


Not Applicable / None Entered.

Contact Email