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Physics Jobs

This article provides information on physics jobs and degrees including reference sites that are associated with the field of physics.

What is Physics

Physics is in basic terms, the study of the laws of nature. Physicists focus their studies on the structure of particles and materials, regardless of size or type. In other words, a Physicist is one that studies and works the mechanics of nature using fundamentals, principles and laws to explain their interaction.

Specializations within physics

Physics offers many different areas of specialization including but not limited to:

  • Astrophysics (study relation to space and astronomical objects)
  • Nuclear Physics (study the nucleus and atom including isotopes – includes areas such as fission, fusion and nuclear synthesis)
  • Plasma Physicist (study the dynamic behavior of plasmas)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics – (study of individual atoms and interactions with molecules – includes areas such as quantum mechanics/relatively theory – important in laser research).
  • Accelerator Physics (study of charged particle optics and particle accelerators including include linear beam dynamics)
  • Cosmologist (study of large-scale structure and the universe’s history including big bang theory/cosmic rays)
  • Condensed Matter Physics (study of matter particles and ordinary solids - including Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC) – a new form of matter).
  • Qualifications in Physics

    For students interested in pursuing a degree in physics, specific criteria will need to be studied, with the primary focus being on

  • Physics I and II
  • Computer Science
  • Calculus and Analytic Geometry
  • Differential Equations
  • Linear Algebra
  • Dynamics of Particles and Waves
  • Vector Analysis
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • Quantum Physics


  • Main Areas where physicists are employed

    Individuals who pursue a degree within Physics will find they have many potential career opportunities. They are employed in such fields as:

  • electronics
  • aerospace
  • optics
  • telecommunications
  • engineering
  • nuclear power
  • computing
  • education


  • In particular physicists in the above industries are employed in the following:

    Research and Development

    The field of research and development is the primary focus of most Physicists. Depending on the specific education and personal interest, some individuals will use the research as a means of gaining additional scientific knowledge to advance their careers while others enjoy the research and development aspect. The research and development performed is what helps them build on the discoveries made, through basic research along with the development of new products, processes, and devices.

    The majority of research conducted in done in small to medium laboratories. While much of the time the research involves smaller equipment, when experiments are performed in nuclear, high energy, or plasma, then expensive and massive equipment is used. In this case, the Physicist would work with a large team in a large laboratory.

    In addition to the extensive experimentation, Physicists are also heavily involved with time in the office, which is spent planning, analyzing, recording, and producing reports.

    Design

    Another avenue for Physicists is in the field of research equipment design. Take lasers for example in that they have been used for years in helping people see better or assisting surgeons when caring for patients. Other forms of design would be microwave devices, such as those used in ovens, or instruments used for measuring chemical contents in foods or analyzing blood.

    Inspection

    Although not a large number of Physicists turn to inspection, some do. In this field, the Physicist would be responsible for inspecting, testing, and overseeing quality control in a number of production type industries.

    Teaching

    Teaching is always an option, although keep in mind that even in the field of teaching when it comes to physics, the positions typically fall within the research and development centers, teaching students about these two entities.