Summary and Future Needs Related to Computational Phantoms
A PhD candidate is often asked to include in the dissertation a section called “future work.” This task requires the student to go beyond the data-based scienti c process and predict what future developments might follow. “Crystal ball gazing,” however, is unscienti c. History has shown that forecasts of the future of science and technology, even by the most experienced individuals, are often proven near-sighted or wrong. Who had foreseen in the 1960s that voxel phantoms would 30 years later gain such popularity in the eld of radiation protection dosimetry? In fact, prophetic remarks are more often sources for amusement. One of the most frequently cited examples is the prediction by Popular Mechanics in 1949 that “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” Legend has it that the chairman of IBM at the time stated, “I think there is a world market for maybe ve computers.” The famous prognosticator Peter Drucker said, “The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different” and “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Nevertheless, a consensus-based statement on “future needs” may serve as a guide in steering researchers and funding agencies toward problems that are too signi - cant to tackle without a concerted effort. This is the rationale for the concluding chapter of this handbook.