|What does a physicist do?
study the physical world. They learn about what makes up things
and how things behave. They also study energy. They learn how
it is created and transferred.
study theoretical stuff. For example, they may study the nature
of time and how the universe began. Others take what they learn
and apply it to practical areas. This includes things such as
the development of advanced materials, electronic and optical
devices, and medical equipment.
design and perform experiments. They observe and analyze. Then
they try to explain laws about the forces of nature. These include
such things as gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear interactions.
They also find ways to take physical laws and theories and apply
them to problems in such areas as electronics and optics.
work in research and development. Some do basic research to increase
the pool of knowledge. Others conduct applied research. They take
what is learned in basic research and use it to build new devices,
products, and processes.
also design research equipment. Many times this equipment has
more than just the use for which it was designed. For example,
after the laser was created for its original use, it was found
that it could be used in surgery as well.
is sometimes considered to be a part of the field of physics.
often work regular hours in labs and offices. At times, those
who are doing work that is deeply involved in research may work
long or irregular hours. They also may have to work away from
their homes for short periods of times. This is because they may
not have the equipment they need where they usually work.
|How do you get ready to be a physicist?
in this field are in basic research and development. You usually
need a doctoral degree to work as a physicist. Some students in
this field want permanent jobs in basic research in universities
and government laboratories. For them additional experience and
training beyond a Ph.D. degree is important. Many Ph.D. holders
teach at the college or university level.
holders often are able to get jobs in manufacturing and applied
research and development. Some may be able to teach in high schools
or at 2-year colleges.
a bachelor's degree only may work as technicians or research assistants.
Some may be able to work in applied research jobs in private industry
or nonresearch positions in the government. Some become science
teachers in middle schools or high schools.
If you want
to be a physicist, you should be good in math. You should also
be good at solving problems and analyzing things. You should be
curious about things. You should be able to picture results in
your mind. You should be a self-starter. Speaking and writing
abilities are important. This is because the work is often done
in teams. Sometimes physicists have to write research papers or
proposals. There are also times when they must explain things
to clients or customers who are not familiar with the field.
|How much does a physicist make?
half of all physicists earned between $66,680 and $107,410 in
2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $50,350. The
highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $129,250.
about 14,000 physicist and astronomer jobs in 2002. Nearly one-third
of these jobs were in scientific research and development services
firms. Another third worked for the Federal Government. Others
worked in colleges and universities, usually in research. Some
were on the faculty at colleges and universities.
and astronomers worked in all parts of the country. Most worked
in areas that had universities or large research and development
of physicists is expected to grow more slowly than the average
for all jobs through 2012. The limited amount of money to do research
means that physicists will have to compete for basic research
jobs. However, there will continue to be demand for people with
a physics background to work in the computer field and other applied
|Are there other jobs like this?
Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
|Where can you find more information?
about physicists and astronomers can be found in the Careers