In Case You Missed It: The Physics of Cancer

The July 2013 issue of Physics World is a special issue devoted to the physics of cancer.


As the editors note, physicists have made many valuable contributions over the years to the treatment, diagnosis and imaging of cancer using X-rays, magnetic fields, protons and other subatomic particles. This special issue of Physics World instead focuses on a fledgling area of research in which physicists – and other physical scientists – are bringing an entirely new perspective to our understanding of cancer. It attempts to examine the physical parameters that control how cancer cells grow, evolve and spread around the body.


  • Find out why Paul Davies thinks cancer could be an ancient genetic program with roots in our multicellular past.
  • See if cancer cells be made to act normally simply by adjusting their electrical polarization.
  • Learn how rotation could play a role in making human breast cells turn malignant.
  • Explore why the tip of an atomic-force microscope can test the mechanical properties of cancer cells
More information is available at