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Read Real Physicist Profiles
Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science.
Physics challenges our imaginations with concepts like relativity and string theory, and it leads to great discoveries, like computers and lasers, that lead to technologies which change our lives—from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions. Check real physicist stories in the box to the right.
Physics encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles.
Moreover, it’s the basis of many other sciences, including chemistry, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy (and can be applied to biology or medical science). All are easily accessible with a bachelor’s degree in physics.
High School Physics Students
Undergraduate Physics Students
Physicists are problem solvers. Their analytical skills make physicists versatile and adaptable so they work in interesting places.
You can find physicists in industrial and government labs, on college campuses, in the astronaut corps, and consulting on TV shows. In addition, many physics grads work at newspapers and magazines, in government, and even on Wall Street—places where their ability to think analytically is a great asset.
Physics brings a broad perspective to any problem. Because they learn how to consider any problem they are not bound by context. This inventive thinking makes physicists desirable in any field. A bachelor’s degree in physics is a great foundation for careers in:
Even when the job market is slow, physicists get job offers—well paying jobs. Employers know that a physicist brings additional skills with expertise and pay accordingly. That’s why physics graduates can expect career salaries similar to those of computer science and engineering majors.
Physics Career Statistical Data
Career Orientation with Sir/ Professor Timothy Vandook!
10 perfectly good reasons why you should choose physics
job opportunities for physicists
Why choose Physics?
Aside from being a great physicist, physics graduates are in demand and can get involved in many other jobs because of their ability to “do anything” and solve problems easily. Physics makes great analytical and creative thinkers.
The answer most appropriate for this question is: anything she wants to do. However, while some physics majors go on to become professional physicists, the majority pursue careers in fields where they can put their knowledge to more practical applications. With their skills in problem-solving, mathematical reasoning, computer programming, and organizing and interpreting scientific data, physics grads can move into government and industrial jobs that require an ability to think logically and creatively. Physics majors are well-suited to jobs that require step-by-step problem solving using math skills and good observational and communicational skills.
A wide range of industries seeks physics graduates: telecommunications, industrial physics, hospital physics, electronics, computing, quality control testing, banking, insurance, teaching, management, technical sales, and the armed forces, for starters. Students who become physicists tend to specialize in one or more areas of physics, such as:
1)Nuclear physics. Nuclear physics involves the study of the components, structure, and behavior of the nucleus of the atom. It has a number of practical applications in developing nuclear energy, archeological dating, smoke detectors, and nuclear medicine. Nuclear diagnostic techniques have revolutionized medicine by providing ways to “see” inside the body without surgery.
2)Geophysics. Geophysicists apply physical theories and measurements to discover the properties of the earth. Geophysics includes the branches of seismology, geothermometry (heating of the earth), hydrology (ground and surface water), and gravity and geodesy (the earth’s gravitational field). Some of its applications are used in building highways and bridges, studying earthquakes, urban planning, and archeology.
3)Atomic, molecular, and optical physics. In this field, physicists study matter and light interactions at the level of the atom. The three are usually grouped together because of their interrelationships, the similarity in methods used, and their related energy scales. Atomic physics is more concerned with the study of the atom than with the forces studied in nuclear physics. Molecular physics focuses on multi-atomic structures and their internal and external interactions with matter and light. Optical physics manipulates light to gain insight into the fundamental properties of light.
4)Astronomy. Astronomy is considered a subfield of physics. Astronomers observe and collect data used to explain relationships between stars and planets as well as other phenomena occurring in the universe. Astronomers, in conjunction with other types of physicists, might be called upon to solve problems connected with space flight navigation and satellite communications. Astronomers account for about 7 percent of physicist jobs tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
5)Astrophysics. Astrophysics is the part of astronomy that deals with the physics of stars, star systems, and interstellar material. Astrophysicists apply the laws of physics to understand how astronomical bodies are formed, how they interact, and how they die. Astrophysics might be used to figure out how to get to other planets, how to build things in new and safer ways, or to examine how the human body adapts to new situations.
6)Space physics. Space physics is the study of the space environment from the uppermost reaches of the earth’s atmosphere to deep space, especially the environment in which satellites must survive. It has important applications as society becomes increasingly dependent on satellites for communication, broadcast, weather monitoring, remote sensing, positional information, and military uses. Space exploration has led to the creation of several products such as new types of ceramics, high-performance materials, and even microwave ovens.
7)Physics Education. Physics grads with bachelor’s degrees can become elementary or high school teachers. There is almost always a shortage of teachers in the sciences. Technical schools will also hire physics majors who have some professional experience. Public schools require a certification to teach, but not all private schools or technical schools do.
8)Engineering Physics. Engineering is another outlet for the physics major. It is one of the most demanding professions, because it often deals with decisions that affect the safety of individuals. Building bridges, skyscrapers, airplanes, and electrical systems requires a solid foundation in physics. Some students will earn a degree in physics and then go on to graduate school for a master’s degree in engineering. Others will double-major in physics and engineering. A few other industries that require a solid physics background are construction, chemical, food, aerospace, agriculture, energy, fuel, metallurgy, textiles and clothing, computers, and transportation.
9)Computer Science. Computer science offers careers for the physics major in graphics and software, artificial intelligence, data processing, and computer games. Computer hardware is the result of applied physics. Nearly 30 percent of physics majors choose to go into a software profession.
A student with an interest in physics and communications might consider telecommunications, television, image analysis, video recording, photography, laser technology, journalism, scientific writing, and publishing. Other non-technical careers in which physics majors have found success are law, business administration, sports, marketing, and business management.
Besides astronomy, space and earth science careers for physics majors include space technology, atmospheric sciences, energy and resources, and ocean sciences. Openings in environmental sciences and physics would include positions studying noise control, pollution control, conservation, radiation protection, and environmental monitoring.
Despite the important and intriguing specialties available to physicists, the vast majority of physics majors enter other professions. They may teach high school physics, perform research and development in private industry or in government labs, or lend their expertise to medical imaging, scientific book publishing, and scientific reporting. Physics careers can come from unexpected places. Insurance companies, for example, hire physicists to study the performances of the products they insure and make recommendations for reducing injuries and property loss.
A graduate with a master’s degree in physics can do most of the above jobs but usually with a higher degree of responsibility and pay. They also have the opportunity to teach at community colleges. A PhD holder is more likely to become a university professor or researcher. Industries will also hire PhDs to oversee research projects for their companies and design new scientific instruments.
I LOVE PHYSICS!