American Institute of Physics
SEARCH AIP
home contact us sitemap
PHYSICISTS AT WORK
The laboratory of the physicist extends from the edge of the universe to inside the nucleus of an atom. A physicist may work in a laboratory designing materials for the computer chips of tomorrow, or smashing atomic particles a in a quest to understand a laboratory designing materials for the computer chips of tomorrow, or smashing atomic particles against one another in a quest to understand how our universe began. Physicists have orbited the Earth as astronauts, and plumbed the oceans' depths. Individuals who have studied physics seek to make instruments that diagnose and cure disease; to develop safer and cleaner fuels for our cars and homes; to harness the power of the sea; to calculate the movement of arctic glaciers; and to create smaller, faster electronic components and integrated circuits.
AT&T Bell Laboratories researcher Janis Valdmanis makes equipment adjustments while measuring super-fast electrical pulses through a new electro-optic technique. (Photo courtesy AT&T Bell Laboratories.)
 
DID YOU
KNOW?
A knuckleball can flutter up and down as much as a foot on its way to the batter. The erratic flow of air around the baseball's stitching causes this effect. Air turbulence is another subject covered in physics courses.



Research physicists work in industry and government, in laboratories and hospitals, and on university campuses. Some physicists serve in the military, teach in high schools and colleges, design science museum exhibits, write books and news articles about science, give advice to federal, state, local, and foreign governments, run businesses, even become artists. Students not interested in pursuing a science career can still benefit from courses in physics. The study of physics helps you acquire very special problem-solving skills and teaches you to better observe and understand the world. We all employ physical concepts in everyday life.
NASA astronauts in weightless spaceflight conditions. The weightless conditions of spaceflight can be simulated by flying an airplane in a special arc. (Photo courtesy NASA.) Pole vaulters and drummers aren't research physicists, but they make use of physical concepts such as elasticity, momentum, conservation of energy, vibration, reverberation, and reflection to hone their skills.

WILL I NEED FURTHER EDUCATION?
PHYSICS IN CAREERS
CAREERS IN PHYSICS
WHERE DO I FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?