Physics is about solving problems and understanding how the world works, so physicists are ideally equipped to deal with all sorts of issues, from technological challenges to complex strategic planning.

Physicists want to understand how the world works, in every detail and at the deepest level. This includes everything from elementary particles, to nuclei, atoms, molecules, macromolecules, living cells, solids, liquids, gases, plasmas, living organisms, the brain, complex systems, supercomputers, the atmosphere, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe itself.

Surprisingly, the majority of physicists do not work in research; today’s physicists are employed across a broad spectrum of careers because their education and training can be applied to any number of situations, from academia and industry, to consultancy and financial services. Physicists also study questions facing today’s science and technology and work at the forefront of solutions for instrumentation, measurement techniques and innovation, in areas such as:

  • Lasers and optics (laser materials, telecommunications)
  • Medicine (medical imaging, radiation treatment, lasers)
  • Space science (mission specialists, satellite design, astrophysics, telescopes)
  • Electricity and magnetism (electronics, antenna design, instruments, semiconductors)
  • Nuclear science (reactor design, waste management, medical applications).

Job description

Work activities

  • Conducting research on physical phenomena, developing theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and devising methods to apply laws and theories of physics to industry, medicine and other fields
  • Performing experiments with masers, lasers, cyclotrons, betatrons, telescopes, mass spectrometers, electron microscopes and other equipment to observe structure and properties of matter, transformation and propagation of relationships between matter and energy, and other physical phenomena
  • Describing and expressing observations and conclusions in mathematical terms
  • Devising procedures for physical testing of materials
  • Conducting instrumental analyses to determine physical properties of materials.