Why Professional Physicists Are Proud of Their Profession

In summary: So, in summary, professional physicists are those who have formally registered with a professional organization, while amateur physicists may be those with expertise in a particular field, but not registered with a professional organization. This is more common in jobs with a public safety concern like engineering or chemistry, whereas physicists tend not to be directly involved in the final design of things. Additionally, while it is important to leave the field open to those outside the establishment, perhaps the most brilliant mathematician alive is a rather private chap who lives with his mum in St Petersburg and works all on his own.
  • #1
Rajini
621
4
Hello all,

why physicists are proud to say that they are 'professional physicist'?? Also physicist are dare and bare to say that they don't know chemistry as well as i am not a chemist!
But i rarely notice scientists saying ' i am a professional chemist'??..

why so?
 
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  • #2
Dunno.

I'm an amateur physicist, fwiw. :D
 
  • #3
Rajini said:
But i rarely notice scientists saying ' i am a professional chemist'??..
It tends to be the other way around. In a lot of countries some professions are protected - you can't just call yourself an engineer or chemist, just like you can't call yourself a doctor or lawyer.

This is more common in jobs with a public safety concern like engineering or chemistry, physicists tend not to be directly involved in the final design of things so professional physics registration isn't as common.

I think people say "professional physicist" more to distinguish themselves from academic physicists - ie. they are saying that they work in industry or industrial research.
 
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  • #4
Okay, yes absolutely you can't call doctor or lawyer (without getting degree in those areas)..
 
  • #5
Rajini said:
Okay, yes absolutely you can't call doctor or lawyer (without getting degree in those areas)..
I think there are two things here.

First, there is someone claiming expertise in order to provide others with a service, be it an expert opinion or the solution to a particular problem where there are concrete consequences if that solution is wrong.

In this first case, of course, it is right and proper that the individual involved should be able to provide proof of their expertise.

But second, there is someone who is simply putting forward ideas in the pursuit of pure science.

In this second case, I think it is important to, in theory at least, leave the field open to those outside the establishment. After all, possibly the most brilliant mathematician alive is a rather private chap who lives with his mum in St Petersburg and works all on his own.
 
  • #6
Sea Cow said:
In this second case, I think it is important to, in theory at least, leave the field open to those outside the establishment. After all, possibly the most brilliant mathematician alive is a rather private chap who lives with his mum in St Petersburg and works all on his own.
Ahaha

didn't he quit and is now trying to break through as a violinist?
 
  • #7
SeaCow said:
...

But second, there is someone who is simply putting forward ideas in the pursuit of pure science.

In this second case, I think it is important to, in theory at least, leave the field open to those outside the establishment. After all, possibly the most brilliant mathematician alive is a rather private chap who lives with his mum in St Petersburg and works all on his own.

True that, but Grigori Pereleman (sp?) does have a Ph.D. in mathematics (with the attendant work) and took fellowships and postdocs. Not that non-credentialed people haven't been able to make contributions--but they are far and few inbetween, and usually worked with mathematicians 'in the system' to realize their contributions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amateur_mathematicians

One of the more recent ones was Marjorie Rice who, despite only a high school educatio,n had an interest in Penrose Tilings, read work in the field, and worked with a mathematician at a local university (IIRC) to get her work published:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Rice
 

1. Why do professional physicists take pride in their profession?

Professional physicists take pride in their profession because it allows them to explore and understand the fundamental laws and principles that govern the universe. They have the opportunity to make groundbreaking discoveries and contribute to the advancement of science and technology.

2. What sets the profession of physics apart from other scientific fields?

Physics is often considered the most fundamental of all the sciences, as it seeks to understand the basic building blocks of matter and the forces that govern them. It also has a wide range of applications, from understanding the behavior of atoms to developing new technologies.

3. How does the work of a professional physicist impact society?

The work of professional physicists has a huge impact on society. They contribute to important developments in fields such as medicine, engineering, and energy production. They also help to solve real-world problems and improve our understanding of the world around us.

4. What skills and qualities make a successful professional physicist?

A successful professional physicist possesses a strong foundation in mathematics and problem-solving skills. They also have a curious and analytical mind, excellent communication skills, and the ability to think creatively and critically.

5. What opportunities are available for those pursuing a career in physics?

There are many opportunities for those pursuing a career in physics. Professional physicists can work in a variety of industries, including academia, research institutions, government agencies, and private companies. They can also specialize in a specific area of physics, such as astrophysics, particle physics, or biophysics.

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