A research chemist uses their background of chemistry and research techniques to discover new knowledge or develop new technologies. Chemistry is the study of matter and energy, and, thus, the discipline is applicable to expand a wide variety of fields. For example, a research chemist may work for a pharmaceutical company trying to develop a new compound capable of treating a somatic condition, or they may try to develop a new way to manufacture a medicine that reduces impurities causing side effects. Research chemists might also may work for an energy company trying to develop a new additive that makes gasoline burn cleaner and more efficiently, or they may work for a semiconductor company trying to develop a new compound that better aids in the doping process that gives rise to transistor behavior.
The research chemist spends much time in laboratories applying the scientific method to develop and test new compounds. Working with sophisticated laboratory equipment, the researcher gathers and analyzes data. The analysis is then generated into a report, and that report will be presented to management and development teams. Research chemists may also complete basic office paperwork and oversee the work of more junior laboratory professionals.
Due to the advanced scientific knowledge required for this position, a research chemist must have at minimum a bachelor's degree in chemistry or a related field. Often, a master's or doctoral degree in such a field is required.
Research Chemist Tasks
- Keep up to date on current research and technologies.
- Observe, analyze, calculate and evaluate results from laboratory work to improve processes and communicate data.
- Design, develop, and characterize novel synthetic products and processes.
- Create and maintain product development strategies, documentation and progress reports.