SURVEY: What does a physicist do?

Hi all,

we have prepared a survey about the possible sectors of employment for a physicist. So, if you are a physicist, enter here and participate! It won’t take you more than 2 minutes!

UPDATE (12/04/2012): here you have a quick analysis of the first 143 answers…

Question 1 – Employment sector:

The main employment sectors are universities and other public research centers (33%), IT (23%), engineering (17%) and high-school teaching (11%). A 17% of participants work in a sector not proposed in the survey, mainly renewable energies, consulting, administration and news media.


Question 2 – Was your bachelor’s degree in Physics enough to get your current job position?


Question 2b – What kind of training or title were you asked for in addition to your bachelor’s degree in Physics?


Question 3 – Employment status:


Question 4 – In which country did you go to college?
Most of the participants studied in Spain (75%), followed by USA and Canada (18%).

Question 4 (College country)bis

Question 5 – Where do you live?
Here we noticed an interesting fact: 11% of the physicists that studied in Spain and Italy have emigrated to other European countries or the United States.

Question 5 (Residence country)bis

Thanks for participating! What do you think about the results?
The survey is still active, vote if you haven’t done it yet!

4 thoughts on “SURVEY: What does a physicist do?”

  1. UPDATE: Emilio posted a link to this survey in the Linkedin group “Industrial Physicists” and that generated a long and interesting discussion with a lot of members of the group sharing their professional experience and their opinion about the possibilities of a physicist in the work market.

  2. Since completing my PhD in 1970 (Upper atmosphere physics – topic: cosmic noise absorption pulsations) I have worked as follows:
    1. Auroral physicist – Australian Antarctic Division (Pi1 micropulsations, etc)
    2. Developed invention for tracking formants in speech
    3. Measured Ocean Surface Wave Climate of Tasmania’s west coast (CSIRO)
    4. Developed numerical fluid dynamic models for estimating tidal and wind driven flows on NW Shelf of Western Australia (CSIRO, for offshore oil and gas industry)
    5. Developed invention for real-time detection of moving objects in video images for surveillance purposes (
    6. Developed invention (Nutrient Megapump) for using heat from hydrothermal vents to mix deep nutrients into the mixed layer of the ocean to promote plankton growth so removing CO2 from the atmosphere and increasing fish stocks (
    7. Created online journal ( in order to comment on the abuse of numerical fluid dynamical modeling by climate scientists and to publish ideas deemed unacceptable by mainstream journals.

  3. I want to share with you two interesting reports published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) on 2012, related with the survey.

    Physics bachelor’s – one year later:

    Ph.D’s one year later — see the second graph for a breakdown of employment by sector:

    I hope you find their reading so interesting as me.

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