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Physics What jobs can a Physicist do?

  1. Nov 10, 2017 #1
    Hi guys.

    I want to make a question about what kind of job can a physicist do.
    Excluding the academic carrier and the research, which kind of job can a physicist do?

    It is true that there are physicist that work at Wall Street?
    If yes, what kind of job they do there?
    A technical job?
    I don't think it's about trading.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2017 #2

    symbolipoint

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    A "Physicist" or at least a bachelor of science (or higher) graduate of Physics can do ANYTHING that anyone else can, depending on actual courses taken and depending on actual experiences. Physics graduates are smart people. A physics graduate could do the work of a chemist, an engineer, computer scientist, software developer, photographer, archivist, various kinds of technicians.
     
  4. Nov 10, 2017 #3

    Nidum

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    (1) You don't seem to have taken in what has now been said several times on different threads .

    Anyone with a Physics/Applied Maths/Engineering type degree can potentially have a successful career in a huge variety of different fields of work .

    (2) When they still did open floor trading at LSE the actual traders had every different type of background you could imagine . Everyone from barely literate East End barrow boys to Eton/Oxbridge educated minor Royals . I think that Wall street was much the same once . Both places now though have become more computer and analysis based so the traders that work there now usually have degrees in subjects with relevant content . Many with degrees in Economics , quite a few with degrees in maths/statistics and the remainder with degrees in all sorts of numerate subjects and certainly including physics .

    Edit : Just to be clear : LSE = London Stock Exchange .
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  5. Nov 10, 2017 #4

    Nidum

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    In answer to the specific question you asked me in message - yes someone with a Physics degree can become an engineer . Many Physics graduates actually do so .
     
  6. Nov 10, 2017 #5

    Nidum

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  7. Nov 10, 2017 #6

    jtbell

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    At the college where I taught for many years, many (probably even the majority) of our physics majors have become engineers, by going on to get a master's degree in some engineering area (usually electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering, IIRC).

    One of my fellow physics majors from many years ago went on to get a Ph.D. in engineering and do research in robotics.
     
  8. Nov 10, 2017 #7
    This is not true in most countries. Many jobs require certification, membership in professional societies, or other restrictions that limit who can work in that field. These often come with educational requirements. In the US medical professions, many accounting positions, and much actuarial work are some examples.
     
  9. Nov 10, 2017 #8
    Yes, though this is less a thing than it was a decade ago (the financial crisis and later legislation really changed the environment).

    Data Science might be an example of something that's currently "hot" that you may find physicists in.

    I'm not suggesting people gravitate towards popular trends just because they're popular.
     
  10. Nov 10, 2017 #9
    I don't agree with this, considering that the law create barriers to physicists.
    For example a physicist can't build a house even if he could, because he is not a civil engineer.
    A physicist can't create a motor, because the law says that only mechanical can do that.
    A physicist can't build a rocket, because the law doesn't allow him to do that.
    There are a lots of examples like this.

    A person that obtained a bachelor's degree in Physics, can obtain a master degree in engineering ?
     
  11. Nov 10, 2017 #10
    Yes.
    Where are you? Where do they have such laws?
     
  12. Nov 10, 2017 #11
    Italy.
    Here it is not possible to make a bachelor's degree in physics and then to swift into an engineering master degree.

    Do you want to say that in the US a physicist can build a house or a car?
     
  13. Nov 10, 2017 #12
    Are you talking about trade union requirements (like a licensed plumber or electrician)? Or professional engineering license (signs off on drawings for boilers, buildings, etc.)?

    Somewhat dated now, but here's a guy who designed houses and cars, and he didn't have any degree at all
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller
     
  14. Nov 10, 2017 #13

    jtbell

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    In the US, yes. Such students usually need to take some extra classes to compensate for not having taken certain engineering classes as an undergraduate.

    I can’t speak to the situation in other countries.
     
  15. Nov 10, 2017 #14
    In my country engineers and physicist are not in the same school, so a person at least can swift from electrical engineering to computer engineering, giving extra exams.
     
  16. Nov 10, 2017 #15

    russ_watters

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    What? Physics is not some master-field that incorporates all other fields. People in all those other fields aren't just sitting there staring at the walls 90% of the time!
     
  17. Nov 10, 2017 #16

    Choppy

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    There's an important distinction to be made here between an education and a professional qualification.

    A degree in physics is not very much of a professional qualification. Alone, it doesn't qualify you for many particular jobs and those it does qualify you for, outside of academia, are generally jobs that require some degree but not a specific physics degree.

    That said, an education in physics does tend to come with a broad set of skills that are often desired in the workplace. And in a lot of cases it's relatively easy for a physics graduate to obtain further professional qualifications because of his or her physics education.

    You might be interested in some of the data from the AIP:
    https://www.aip.org/statistics/employment
     
  18. Nov 10, 2017 #17
    Ok, but no one completely answered the question, there are some examples of jobs available only for physicist ?
    Obviously i'm not including the accademia carrier.
     
  19. Nov 10, 2017 #18

    Choppy

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    Are you talking about something like a Medical Physicist? We are experts in areas like radiation oncology physics, diagnostic imaging, MRI, or nuclear medicine. Often we work in cancer hospitals that provide radiation therapy. The training is quite specialized though. Usually you do an accredited MSc or PhD in medical physics (or there are certificate programs for those who've completed a PhD in an other area of physics), and then do a two year accredited residency.

    Another example might be a Geophysicist, who would work for oil exploration companies. I know less about the specific requirements to get into that field, but usually is starts with a graduate degree in geophysics.

    You could also look up ZapperZ's posts about Accelerator Physicists. There are lots of applications for accelerators beyond frontline patient care in medicine.

    Health Physicists work in occupational safety contexts around radiation, both in medical and nuclear power generation settings.

    I'm sure nuclear plants hire Nuclear Physicists from time to time as well.
     
  20. Nov 10, 2017 #19

    symbolipoint

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    Well there you go. Italy is not the US. Fact is, some people do earn Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics (in some places of the world) and do become engineers.
     
  21. Nov 10, 2017 #20

    symbolipoint

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    How do we stop them from doing those "anythings" I mentioned, which some of them actually do?
     
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