Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Top 10 Physics companies

  1. Apr 16, 2007 #1
    I was looking in Physics today and it says a couple of things. Physicisits are no more likely to work in inustry-companies than universities.

    2nd it gave the top 10 companies for a physicists. ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobile suprisingly came up. I can thing of jobs for chemists and engineers there but not physicists.WHat could a physicists do at an oil company?

    If this is so then the 1-10 Energy Corridor has to be a hotspot for physicists in Houston and not just the universitites and NASA.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2007 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  4. Apr 16, 2007 #3
    Oh there are a lot of jobs physicists do at oil companies. I think people tend to view a company based only on the product, but in fact, there tends to be a lot more work to be done.

    A friend of my dad works at ExxonMobile as a physicists. His job deals mainly with solving problems they encounter while drilling for oil. How to solve certain fliud problems that come up while designing chemical plants. A lot of stuff like that that props up/
  5. Apr 16, 2007 #4
    geophysicists do a fair bit of exploration for oil companies.
  6. Apr 16, 2007 #5
    AHh so finding oil and fluid dynamics comes in. What about Complex or Quantam Physics.
  7. Apr 16, 2007 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    I would say that quantum physics deals with matter on a scale that is entirely irrelevant to the types of problems encountered by oil companies. If you meant to ask whether there were *any* companies in general involved in work that required people with expertise in quantum physics, my tentative answer would be, "yes, probably quite a few," if only because the knowledge offered by QM is absolutely crucial to the design and functioning of most modern-day solid-state electronic devices, lasers etc. There is a company called D-wave based here in Vancouver that is devoted entirely to quantum computing, but I believe that it was specifically founded by physicists and that it doesn't currently have any real sources of revenue.

    Edit: I don't know much about this company, so I could be wrong.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2007
  8. Apr 19, 2007 #7
    Now another company is Schlumberger. I don't know what physicists would do there but I think it is an oil company.

    Another thing why is it pronounced Shlumberjea liike in French but is spelled like Shlumburger in German. WHy does a word that's spelled in German have a French sounding name?
  9. Apr 22, 2007 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Because the Schlumberger brothers were from Alsace - the bit of France near Germany ( and which generally changes hands after each war!)

    On a more general point - physicists are employed by lots of companies just because they are a good source of relatively clever people who can be expected to think about problems!
  10. Apr 22, 2007 #9
    Would these physicists work alongside Chemical, Mechanical & Electrical Engineers at the oil companies?
  11. Apr 22, 2007 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    For every technical specialist in a company there are N support people - project managers, technical sales, as well as more general design / management roles. I suspect lots of these are filled by physicists.
    Only a small minority of jobs in an oil company involve an intimate familiarity with oil!
  12. Apr 23, 2007 #11
    Ironic, I know Physics is the hub of all the sciences and electronics but could a physicist do an electronics engineer's or mechanical engineer's jon at an oil company. ALthough not a part of physics what about a chemical engineer's?
  13. Apr 23, 2007 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I wasn't claiming that a physicist replaces technical specialists - I was pointing out that in any industry only a small number of people are directly involved in the speciality - there are then a lot more people doing technical or project management type jobs. Having someone, who while not an specialist, is able to understand scientific methodology is useful.

    There are even more people pushing paper around and 'managing' things - I don't know what these people learnt.

    However in many small / startup companies physicists are very valuable - if you need someone who can do the mechanical engineering in the morning, the electronics in the afternoon and write the code all night, a physicist might come in useful.
  14. Apr 26, 2007 #13
    Research Company

    What about a physics research company in the field of astrophysics and theoretical physics. Is this possible? Please give me a detailed outline of this.
  15. Apr 26, 2007 #14
    Heh. Who would pay your salary?
  16. Apr 26, 2007 #15


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    In the past large companies did scientific research. Partly for public recognition, in those mythical days when scientific progress was regarded as good by the public, and partly to attract the best people who would then attract other people - in the same way that google hires rockstar programmers so that others will want to work there.

    Penzias and Wilson were working for Bell Labs when the found the CMBG.
    Quite a few astronomers worked at IBMs watson research centre and I know a few that worked at Lockheed/Boeing etc.

    As big business became leaner and universities became more like big business I think most of these opportunities dissapeared, I think the biggest concentration of astrophysicists today are in Wall St dealing rooms.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook