Physicist Job Description
A physicist is a scientist with an expert knowledge of physics – the study of matter, energy, and the interactions between them. Physicists explore physical forces and quantities, and use mathematics to develop theories that explains their occurrences and the way they relate to each other.
A physicist should be enthusiastic, curious, observant, methodical, patient and persistent, and have the ability to think critically and solve problems. They should also be able to work well independently and in a team, and communicate effectively to explain complex information to others.
Famous physicists include Alhazen (the book of light), Galileo Galilei (astronomy), Sir Isaac Newton (the three laws of motion), Michael Faraday (faraday’s law of induction), Max Plank (quantum mechanics), and Albert Einstein (the theory of general relativity).
Pursue a career in physics if you have aptitude for science and mathematics, and are fascinated by the universe and the physical forces acting upon it.
What does a Physicist do?
Physicists may do some or all of the following:
- carry out scientific research
- collaborate with other scientists to design and develop new devices, products, and equipment
- develop instruments and equipment to study physical forces and quantities
- develop theories that explain physical forces and quantities
- plot graphs and write reports on scientific research
- publish research finding in scientific journals
- give presentations and lectures
- teach physics to others
Where does a Physicist work?
Physicists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends during extensive experiments. They work in physics laboratories, classrooms, and offices.
What is Required to Become a Physicist?
To become a physicist, you will need a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in physics or a related discipline
High school students interested in studying physics should take preparatory subjects such as English, physics, chemistry, algebra, calculus, and statistics.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Linear algebra
- Differential equations
- Complex analysis
- Optics and Wave
- Quantum mechanics
- Statistical Physics
- Electricity and magnetism
- Quantum physics
- Nuclear physics
A physicist may specialize in any of the following fields:
- Nuclear physics – the physics of nuclear structures
- Atomic physics – the study of atomic interactions and processes
- Solid-state physics – the study of properties of solids
- Optics – the scientific study of light
- Acoustics – the scientific study of sound
- Plasma physics – the study of plasmas and their interactions with electrical and magnetic fields
- Astronomy – the physics of the stars and outer space
- Biophysics – the study of the application of physics to biology
- Chemical physics – the application of physics to chemical processes
- Geophysics – the study of physics and physical processes of the earth
- Meteorology – the scientific study of the earth’s atmosphere
- Oceanography – the scientific study of the oceans
- Seismology – the scientific study of earthquakes
- Applied physics – the application of physics to solve real world problems
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Physicists need to have:
- manual dexterity
- accuracy and precision
- creativity and innovation
- good memory
- good eyesight and normal color vision
- good attention to detail
- good hand- eye coordination
- good interpersonal skills
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- observational skills
- time-management and organizational skills
- math and computer skills
- technical laboratory skills
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- knowledge of physical forces and quantities
- knowledge of applied mathematics
Should I be a Physicist?
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