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How to become a Physicist

avg. starting salary

Looking for a job that you can really bond to? You should become a Physicist… Physicists use research, analysis, and experimental physics to study the interaction of energy and matter within the physical universe. They use this increased understanding to help improve various aspects of human life. The specific nature of a Physicist’s role will depend on the industry and field they work in, but their research could help to develop a range of useful technologies – from satellites and robotics, to medical instruments and treatments. Specialisms within a field include theoretical analysis, where Physicists use computer systems and advanced mathematics to provide scientific explanations, or experimental research, where they design and carry out experiments to prove theories. Duties will vary dependent on the industry, but general tasks for a Physicist could include:
  • Teaching at a school or University
  • Conducting research
  • Building and maintaining specialist equipment
  • Designing and carrying out scientific experiments based on research
  • Finding out new ways to produce energy
  • Working within climate forecasting
  • Writing reports and papers for journals
  • Specialising in other fields such as medicine, robotics, or space exploration

Aside from a natural curiosity about how the world works, you’ll also need to have excellent scientific and mathematical skills to become a successful Physicist. And, because of the research and analysis elements of the job, a meticulous work ethic alongside logical thinking is equally essential. Physicists will also often be required to work away from home when carrying out fieldwork, so flexibility in terms of working hours and location is a must. Other essential skills for a Physicist include:
  • Excellent verbal and written skills
  • A working knowledge of computer packages and statistics
  • An ability to think critically and solve problems
  • A high level of accuracy
  • Great team working skills
  • Project management expertise


Postdoctoral Researcher

Up to £36,000

Research Scientist

Up to £42,000

Senior Researcher

Up to £70,000

"After studying applied physics at University, I was lucky enough to be funded to do a PhD. These days, I’m a Research Scientist in medicine, and I really love it. Every day brings a new theory or hypothesis to research, which means there’s a new experiment to design and a problem to solve. And, the results mean we’re that bit closer to discovering cures to diseases and equipment that could help save people’s lives. It can be quite stressful at times, but as long you’re motivated by a natural curiosity for what you’re doing, it’s easy to power through even if the results aren’t always what you expected."

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