Science, Technology & Environment

Physicist

Physicists study the fundamental properties of the physical world and explore how matter, energy, time and space interact.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Physicist do?

Physicists study the fundamental properties of the physical world and explore how matter, energy, time and space interact.

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Work activities

As a physicist, you would:

  • usually work in either theoretical analysis or experimental research
  • observe and measure natural phenomena
  • develop scientific models or devise theories to explain properties exhibited by the natural world
  • plan and conduct experiments to test your theories
  • use existing data to conduct analyses or make calculations to support your theories
  • use computer software to create models and analyse data
  • teach in schools, colleges or universities
  • report your findings by writing scientific papers or presenting at conferences
  • develop new processes for use in research and development, or in industry.
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Key skills and interests

To become a physicist, you would need:

  • broad and deep scientific and mathematical knowledge
  • an enquiring and analytical mind
  • clear and logical thinking
  • good problem solving skills
  • accuracy and a methodical approach to work
  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • to be able to clearly explain scientific and technical matters in non-technical language.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In a full-time role, you would normally work standard hours, Monday to Friday.

Conditions

Physicists usually work in laboratories. However, experiments in some areas of physics, such as nuclear and high-energy physics, may be carried out using extremely large and expensive equipment, such as particle accelerators and nuclear reactors.

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How to become an Physicist?

Entry Level Education

To become a physicist you usually have to complete a degree in science or applied science at university with a major in physics, applied physics or mathematical physics. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science and physics would be apropriate subjects to study prior to university.

Many physicists hold higher degrees, such as a PhD, and employment opportunities often depend on the level of qualification gained. A PhD would be required for research positions.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment prospects for physicists are expected to exceed average growth for other occupations.

Government and university research spending restrictions may limit growth opportunities for physicists. This is likely to be more than offset by continued growth in demand for physicists in areas such as the development of medical instruments and treatments, robotics and artificial intelligence, renewable energy, aerospace, defence, climate management and other fields.

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