Job Description for Physicist
Humanity's understanding of the mechanical workings of reality is, relative to our history, in its infancy. Only in the last two centuries have scientists been able to directly observe and manipulate matter and energy at microscopic levels, and new discoveries and applications have skyrocketed in that time-frame, all while our technology continually enhances our ability to understand these things. Physicists are scientists who study the properties of matter and energy and perform experiments, often using extremely advanced equipment, to discover how these mysterious properties work and interact.Read More...
The physicist's work exists at the cutting edge of human science. Large areas of physics remain theoretical or hypothetical, so physicists must find ways to apply existing techniques and technology to solve these new and often enormous mysteries. This involves applying universal scientific principles in structured experiments, recording the data, and collating it into a report, as well as more specific tasks depending on the specialization or particular area of physics. Some focus entirely on theoretical physics, while others remain experimental physicists and still others become teachers.
Aspiring physicists should have must have very strong aptitude for mathematics, trigonometry, and calculus, and a master's degree in physics may be a minimum requirement. Educational credits in areas such as mathematics and engineering are also helpful, and required in some cases, by employers.
- Design, conduct and evaluate the results of experiments, methodologies, and quality control tests.
- Provide technical support and calculations to non-scientists, students, and other groups.
- Maintain and use equipment and lab space.
- Communicate results in writing and in presentations to researchers, students, funders, the public, and other audiences.
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Popular Skills for Physicist
Survey results suggest that Physicists put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Data Analysis, Research Analysis, Systems Engineering, and Material Science are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Physics as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Matlab and Object Oriented Programming also typically command lower compensation. Most people experienced in Material Science also know Nuclear Energy / Nuclear Power.
Pay by Experience Level for Physicist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $72K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $89K on average. Professionals who claim 10 to 20 years of experience can secure some pretty cushy paychecks; the median for this group is a six-figure $115K. Physicists who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $137K.
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Key Stats for Physicist
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 28 votes.