What kind of careers are there in the physics field?

In summary, the conversation discussed various career options in the field of science, particularly in physics and engineering. Theoretical physics was mentioned as a broad field with subcategories such as condensed matter, nuclear, and acoustical physics. Career opportunities for physicists were also mentioned, including positions in national labs, the semiconductor industry, and universities. In regards to engineering, the conversation touched on different areas such as power engineering, telecommunications, computer engineering, and control engineering. Other branches of engineering were also mentioned as having exciting developments.
  • #1
Nerdydude101
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I've heard of a few career types in science such as engineering, astrophysics, theoretical physics, and basic ones like that, but I was wondering if someone could give me a more detailed list of careers or break down some of them. Such as is it just theoretical physics or is it broken up into more categories of theoretical physics. Thanks!
 
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  • #2
First of all, theoretical physics comprises a wide variety of fields in physics. A very small portion of theoretical physicists are concerned with things like String Theory (or any "Theory of Everything", for that matter). What it means is that their approach to problems in physics involves a lot more pencil and paper and computer simulations than someone running the experiments. There are theoretical condensed matter physicists, theoretical nuclear physicists, theoretical acoustical physicists. The list goes on.

There are people here with more authority than me to speak on the subject of careers, but I've heard of physicists being hired at national labs, the semiconductor industry, oil companies, etc. (and of course, universities). I'm unable to comment with more depth on physicist careers.

However, since you mentioned engineering, I can tell you where electrical engineers work. First, there are power engineers, i. e. the ones who make sure that those power lines outside your house actually have, well, power. There are telecommunications engineers, who deal with everything from cell phone towers to satellite communications and everything in between. There are computer engineers, who designed the electronics in the computer you used to ask this question. There are also electrical engineers working in areas with optics and optical communication (for instance, engineers who study better ways to make fiber optic cables--sending information using light). Control engineers work with things like sensors to make processes work (kind of vague, I know--think things like cruise control on a vehicle). Electrical engineers use a variety of sciences--physics, chemistry, math, and sometimes biology--to work with electromagnets, radar, antennas, etc.

Of course, that's just one branch of engineering. There are exciting developments happening in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, etc. as well.
 

1. What types of careers are available for physicists?

There are a wide variety of careers available for physicists, including research positions in academia, government, and private industry. Other options include teaching, science communication, and consulting.

2. Can I work in the medical field as a physicist?

Yes, there are many opportunities for physicists in the medical field. They can work in areas such as medical imaging, radiation therapy, and medical device development.

3. What skills are required for a career in physics?

Strong mathematical and analytical skills are essential for a career in physics. Additionally, proficiency in computer programming, problem-solving, and critical thinking are also important.

4. Do I need a PhD to work as a physicist?

While a PhD is typically required for research positions, there are also opportunities for physicists with bachelor's or master's degrees in industries such as engineering, finance, and technology.

5. What is the job outlook for careers in physics?

The job outlook for physicists is positive, with a projected growth rate of 7% from 2019-2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is driven by advancements in technology and the increasing demand for scientific research and development.

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