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Physics Jobs after the PhD in Physics

  1. Dec 7, 2012 #1
    Academia jobs after you get your PhD are few and far between. I was wondering what jobs are there for Physics PhDs in the industry or with the government. What exactly do these guys do?Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2012 #2
    Some example jobs are: Lecturers, Researchers in Industry (ie Product and Gample hires many researchers), Advisors in Engineering Industry (ie Atkins), quite many positions for researchers working with the government in United Emirates (Oil Industry).
  4. Dec 7, 2012 #3
    I think it depends a lot on what you do your PhD on. Physics PhD work can involve a range of completely different skill sets, some are pretty marketable and others are more tough to sell outside academia.
  5. Dec 7, 2012 #4
    Thanks again. I'd love to work in the academia, but that's a long shot. I still love science with a passion, though. It would be hard for me to love a career that I wasn't involved in ANY scientific work. So if I can't work for the science, I'll still be very happy and much rewarded if the science worked for me.
  6. Dec 7, 2012 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Some universities have applied research labs that employ phd physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, math and comp sci people. You could check out their web pages for the work they do.

    Many companies like GE and IBM have research labs that hire physics PhDs.
  7. Dec 8, 2012 #6
    This thread should be made sticky - awesome analysis of job options:

    It is called Non-academic career options for the theoretical physicist but according to my experience it applies to experimental physicists as well.
  8. Dec 8, 2012 #7
    does it really apply to experimentalists? I read it and the overwhelming consensus is:

    GET EXPERIMENTAL EXPERIENCE. Basically every job he was rejected for it was because he did not do experiments.
  9. Dec 9, 2012 #8
    THe OP of this thread has asked what jobs are there for physics PhDs outside academia. I think the list of options summarized in the starting post of the other thread applies to physicists with either background.

    I did not intend to say that the rate of acceptance is the same for theorists and experimentalists for all kinds of jobs listed there. In particular, materials science / engineering jobs are rather for experimentalists. However, I am also aware of theorists that started out in a department concerned with modelling (of industrial processes) and gradually moved closer to the hands-on aspects of these processes.

    As for the usual suspects: IT, software, management consulting... you will find both theorists and experimentalists. It is stated often in these forums that programming and/or software development is for theorists - but there are so many "IT jobs" that do not require hardcore programming, but rather implementation and integration of standard software - it is very common to find experimental physicists in those jobs - according to the personal sample of CVs I am aware of.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  10. Dec 12, 2012 #9
    Just for myself as an example, I finished my phd in applied physics a few months ago and, long disillusioned with the academic route but not wanting to stray too far from the technical, I applied for and eventually got a job offer with ASML in the Netherlands. It's a design and engineering position, working on the next generation of lithography systems... and I'm pretty damn excited about it.
  11. Dec 12, 2012 #10
    In Taiwan, lots of Physics PhD's work in the same industry as yours. Based on personal experience, around 1/3 of my experimental HEP lab mates are/had been in one semiconductor foundry or another. Same industry, but our part is more in manufacturing using said litho systems. These opportunities may also be found in China and Singapore.
  12. Dec 12, 2012 #11
    Students I went to grad school with routinely got industry jobs with no experimental experience. However, their work was computational in nature, and they used software often used by companies in that line of work.

    My impression was that companies in my field of interest had no interest in chalkboard physicists (traditional theorists), but they employed some balance of computational and experimental types.
  13. Dec 12, 2012 #12
    ApeXaviour, your job does sound pretty cool. I wasn't around this forum for a while because of finals, but I'm happy to see more feedback :) I wanted to do go in experimental anyway, but the specific job I wanted since I was 8 seems to be a bust. Being a researcher in astrophysics. Since then, I've been looking at other fields of physics that still look cool. The responses feel pretty assuring that there's a job - somewhere - to still enjoy by playing around in Physics.
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