Physicist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Physicists Career Video



Conducts research into physical phenomena, develops theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devises methods to apply physical laws and theories.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Performs complex calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data, using computers.
  • Describes and expresses observations and conclusions in mathematical terms.
  • Analyzes data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena.
  • Reports experimental results by writing papers for scientific journals or by presenting information at scientific conferences.
  • Designs computer simulations to model physical data so that it can be better understood.
  • Collaborates with other scientists in the design, development, and testing of experimental, industrial, or medical equipment, instrumentation, and procedures.
  • Directs testing and monitoring of contamination of radioactive equipment, and recording of personnel and plant area radiation exposure data.
  • Observes the structure and properties of matter, and the transformation and propagation of energy, using equipment such as masers, lasers, and telescopes to explore and identify the basic principles governing these phenomena.
  • Develops theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and applies these theories and laws to problems in areas such as nuclear energy, optics, and aerospace technology.
  • Teaches physics to students.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours

Specialty and Similar Careers

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