Career Library

Physicists and astronomers

National Occupation Code (NOC): 2111

Physicists conduct theoretical and applied research to extend knowledge of natural phenomena and to develop new processes and devices in fields such as electronics, communications, power generation and distribution, aerodynamics, optics and lasers, remote sensing, biotechnology, medicine and health. They are employed by electronic, electrical and aerospace manufacturing companies, telecommunications companies, power utilities, university and government research laboratories, hospitals and by a wide range of other processing, manufacturing, and research and consulting firms. Astronomers conduct observational and theoretical research to extend knowledge of the universe. They are employed by government and universities.

Job Duties for Physicists and astronomers

Physicists
  • Design and conduct research in experimental and theoretical physics
  • Carry out analysis of research data and prepare research reports
  • Participate as a member of a research or development team in the design and development of experimental, industrial or medical equipment, instrumentation and procedures.
Astronomers
  • Design and conduct observational surveys, conduct detailed analyses and develop numerical models to extend knowledge of celestial bodies and cosmic radiation
  • Develop or participate in the development of instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis.
Physicists may specialize in fields such as aeronomy and space, acoustics, atomic and molecular physics, biophysics, condensed matter or solid state physics, electromagnetics, fluids and aerodynamics, health physics, medical physics, metrology, particle physics, optics and laser physics, nuclear physics and plasma physics. Astronomers may specialize in fields such as astrophysics, observational or optical astronomy and radio astronomy.

Working Conditions for Physicists and astronomers

Work is performed in a variety of locations, from indoor educational and laboratory facilities to outdoor observatories. Workers must follow strict safety measures due to radiation and x-ray exposure.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Acoustics Physicist
  • Aerodynamicist
  • Aerophysicist
  • Aerospace Research Scientist
  • Astronomer
  • Astrophysicist
  • Atmospheric Physicist
  • Biophysicist
  • Chemical Physicist
  • Communications Research Scientist
  • Cosmic Ray Physicist
  • Cosmologist
  • Cryogenics Physicist
  • Crystal Physicist
  • Electricity And Magnetism Physicist
  • Electronics Physicist
  • Electronics Research Scientist
  • Elementary Particle Physicist
  • Elementary Particle Theorist
  • Experimental Physicist
  • Fluid Physicist
  • Health Physicist
  • High-temperature Physicist
  • Laser Physicist
  • Low-temperature Physicist
  • Magnetism Physicist
  • Mathematical Biophysicist
  • Mechanics Physicist
  • Medical Biophysicist
  • Medical Engineering Biophysicist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Metal Physicist
  • Metrologist
  • Microwave Physicist
  • Molecular Biophysicist
  • Nanotechnology Physicist
  • Nuclear Physicist
  • Nuclear Reactor Physicist
  • Optics Physicist
  • Particle Accelerator Physicist
  • Particle Physicist
  • Photonics Physicist
  • Physicist
  • Physics Research Scientist
  • Plasma Physicist
  • Radiation Biophysicist
  • Radio Astronomer
  • Reactor Physicist
  • Remote Sensing Research Scientist
  • Rheologist
  • Semiconductor Physicist
  • Solid-state Physicist
  • Space Physicist
  • Theoretical Nuclear Physicist
  • Thermal Physicist
  • X-ray Physicist
  • Acoustics Physicist
  • Aerodynamicist
  • Aerospace Research Scientist
  • Astronomer
  • Astrophysicist
  • Atmospheric Physicist
  • Biophysicist
  • Cosmologist
  • Electronics Research Scientist
  • Experimental Physicist
  • Health Physicist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Metrologist
  • Nuclear Physicist
  • Optics Physicist
  • Physics Research Scientist
  • Plasma Physicist
  • Radio Astronomer
  • Remote Sensing Research Scientist
  • Solid-state Physicist