What Do Physicists Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties

Stanley Tan2 Comments

daily life of a Physicist
are Physicists happy with their job


Other names for this job might include Aerodynamicist, Aerophysicist, Astrophysicist, Atmospheric Physicist, Atomic Spectroscopist, Biophysics Scientist, Cloud Physicist, Consultant Electronics, Electro Optical Engineer, Electro-Optical Engineer

  • $118500
  • 77%
    Job satisfaction
  • Hard
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
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Being A Physicist: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Physicists do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Physicist or not.

Job summary

Physicists conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

We asked Physicists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


77% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 79% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Physicists Perform complex calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data, using computers. They Analyze data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena.

1 of the main responsibilities as A Physicist is to Direct testing and monitoring of contamination of radioactive equipment, and recording of personnel and plant area radiation exposure data.

Some may also Develop theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and apply these theories and laws to problems in areas such as nuclear energy, optics, and aerospace technology.

In a normal work day, another thing that Physicists do is they Develop manufacturing, assembly, and fabrication processes of lasers, masers, infrared, and other light-emitting and light-sensitive devices.

Analyze geological or geographical data.

We asked some Physicists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?56% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?77% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?32% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?72% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?14% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?20% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?0% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?6% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Physicists do, they Describe and express observations and conclusions in mathematical terms. They might also Design computer simulations to model physical data so that it can be better understood.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Physicists Collaborate with other scientists in the design, development, and testing of experimental, industrial, or medical equipment, instrumentation, and procedures. and Observe 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.

In addition, they Teach physics to students.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Conduct application evaluations and analyze results to determine commercial, industrial, scientific, medical, military, or other uses for electro-optical devices.

Develop theories or models of physical phenomena.Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.

Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as A Physicist, you can expect to work More than 40 hours per week.

Do Physicists work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Physicists work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Physicists work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Thinkers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

You also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the careers require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Rank: B+
Salary: $107140

They observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.
Rank: A
Salary: $113190

They conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
Rank: B+
Salary: $91960

They study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
Rank: A
Salary: $90340

They teach courses in the physical sciences, except chemistry and physics. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching, and those who do a combination of teaching and research.
Rank: A
Salary: $90500

They teach courses pertaining to the laws of matter and energy. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

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Career type

Social Science and Humanities
Mathematics, Physics/Astronomy
Health Informatics
Science and Math

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2 Comments on “What Do Physicists Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties”

  1. Jeff Carbine

    Basically, most of the inventions and progress of the world today came from the subject of physics. In addition to physicists having jobs as teachers and receiving grants, do very many physicists get hired in-house for companies? For instance, would a physicist work at 3M and help with research and development?

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