including astronomy, astrophysics and space science
- Destinations of Kent Physics Graduates
- Postgraduate Study
- Physics-related Jobs
- Astronomy and Space Science
- Physics Careers Links
- See our science careers page for
- Vacancy sources for scientists
- Applications and interviews for science jobs
- Science vacation work and placements
- Careers outside science for scientists
Physics is widely regarded as a demanding degree to get and employers know that to get a good physics degree, you have to be bright! A physicist looks to understand how things work: the reasons that things happen the way they do, which requires the ability to analyse problems. This is a highly marketable skill which is applicable to a wide range of careers. A degree in Physics gives you an excellent grounding in many areas, what you make of it after you graduate is up to you! One survey in The Times suggested that Physics was in fact the most employable of degrees.
Each year, SEPnet (South East Physics Network) provides funding for undergraduates in their penultimate year at SEPnet partner universities to conduct eight week internships. The scheme not only provides a transfer of knowledge across the South East of England, it increases the employability of physics students too. If you are an employer in the South East interested in offering a placement to a physics student, or a student at one of the SEPnet partner universities, please visit the following link for more details about the scheme: www.sepnet.ac.uk/employer_services/summer_internships/index.html
DESTINATIONS OF RECENT KENT PHYSICS GRADUATES (includes M.Phys, Space Science & Astrophysics, and Physics with Forensic Science)
These statistics only cover the first six months after graduation. The latest destinations for all subjects (1999-last year) including postgraduates can be found at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/fdrbases/destinations.htm
Destinations of Kent Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science graduates
Other employment e.g.
|NOT AVAILABLE to work e.g. traveling||2||1||2|
|SELF EMPLOYED Arclight Entertainment/Arcadian Enterprises - Managing Director, Website Promoter||1||-||-|
|STILL LOOKING for work or study 6 months after graduation||3||1||6|
About 34% of physics graduates from Kent have opted to postgraduate study for a PhD or Masters degree in recent years. This is partly because grants are more easily available in the Sciences for postgraduate study than in the Arts or Social Sciences. It should be remembered though that postgraduate study is not an easy option and research for a PhD will require dedication and determination to see things through over a period of 3 or more years - especially when experiments are not going right! See our section on Postgraduate Study www.kent.ac.uk/careers/postgradmenu.htm
A large proportion of physics graduates entering permanent jobs after graduation go into research, design and development. Although you can get a job as a trainee research scientist with a good first degree, for those wanting a long term career in research it may be advisable to study for a doctorate as promotion within research may be hindered without one. However, many junior research staff use research as a stepping stone to other functions within the company, such as marketing, patent work and production management, and for graduates with these ambitions a postgraduate degree would not be necessary. Many of these jobs are with electronics, telecommunications and defence companies and may be nearer engineering than pure physics. See the section on Research and Development.
Areas of growth include nuclear and renewable energy, environmental jobs and defence but employers such as Rolls-Royce, AWE and RM Consulting also actively seek to employ physicists.
A survey by the Institute of Physics asked physicists "What do you do for your living?"
By industry the largest proportion were in AEROSPACE, followed by:
The main function of their job in 2007 was, in order:
A Postgraduate Certificate of Education Course (PGCE) lasts one year. It's still not that difficult to obtain a place on a science PGCE provided that you can show some evidence of interest in teaching such as voluntary work at a school. Remember though that you need to apply well in advance for courses. Remember that you can also teach physics in Colleges of Further Education, private schools and the Armed Forces. There is a shortage of science teachers, who are eligible for an enhanced bursary during training. See www.kent.ac.uk/careers/siteach.htm
These use a variety of physics and computing skills in diagnosis and treatment of illness including such techniques as radiography and ultrasound. Tasks include introducing, calibrating, using and maintaining medical equipment. Entry is sometimes direct into a job, but often now after a relevant Masters degree. Normal entry route is via the National Scheme for Training Clinical Scientists advertised in February each year with a closing date in March. There are also jobs with medical equipment suppliers in designing, developing and marketing equipment. Related jobs include Health (Radiation) Physicist in the nuclear industry (see below) and Biomedical Engineer - designing heart valves, artificial limbs etc.
See the websites below for more information on what the jobs involve
- Clinical Scientists Training Programme www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/hospitalsci.htm
- Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine www.ipem.ac.uk
- Society of Radiographers www.sor.org
- Audiological Scientists www.baaudiology.org
- Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) www.abhi.org.uk the trade association for medical device technology in the UK
For more information see the AGCAS Sector Briefing booklet on the Science Sector www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ScienceSB or you can pick one up from the Careers Service.
The nuclear energy industry recruits large numbers of physicists. See our energy industry page www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitesemp.htm for full details of jobs and employers.
Trident Nuclear SubmarinesThe Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) supplies and maintains the warheads for the submarines. Other players are the Ministry of Defence, BAe Systems, Babcock and Rolls Royce
- Atomic Weapons Establishment www.awe.co.uk/careers/careers_awe_0fbdf.html recruit for design physics, chemical technology, materials science research, plasma physics and radiation science.
- Babcock International www.babcock.co.uk engineering support services company.
- Rolls Royce www.rolls-royce.com/careers
- BAe Systems www.baesystems.com/careers global aerospace and defence
- See our page on Oil, Energy and Utilities
COMMUNICATIONS. Radio, optoelectronic and microwave communication are all important here, and there are jobs with both equipment manufacturers and suppliers of services.
- BT www.btplc.com/Careercentre have a huge research site near Ipswich
- Thales www.thalesgroup.com (formerly Thompson CSF and Racal)
- Vodafone www.vodafone.co.uk/graduates
- Siemens www.siemens.co.uk
- Roke Manor Research www.roke.co.uk Research Laboratory of Siemens specialising in communications
- Tessella http://jobs.tessella.com recruit scientific software developers
- Logica www.logica.com Major computer consultancy that regularly recruits Kent science and IT graduates.
- IBM UK jobs www-5.ibm.com/employment/uk For research opportunities see IBM UK Laboratories, Hursley, Winchester www-5.ibm.com/employment/uk/hursleygrads
- Sharp Laboratories of Europe www.sle.sharp.co.uk/careers/careers.php "We are always interested to hear from people with a first or 2(i) in Physics, IT, Chemistry or Mathematics. Please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.`
- Xerox UK www2.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_xerox04.asp
- GCHQ www.gchq.gov.uk Government Communications Headquarters - national intelligence and security. BBC article about GCHQ and another
- HM Government Communications Centre www.hmgcc.gov.uk near Milton Keynes
- QinetiQ www.qinetiq.com formerly the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (an agency of the Ministry of Defence) - big recruiter of physicists, especially at its Malvern Laboratory
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl). Part of the Ministry of Defence. Farnborough, Porton Down near Salisbury, Portsdown West near Portsmouth and Sevenoaks, Kent (explosives/weapons technology) www.dstl.gov.uk/pages/150
- Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/ScienceandTechnology/desg big recruiters of physics graduates. Part of the Ministry of Defence.
- BAe Systems www.baesystems.com/careers global aerospace and defence
- AWE www.awe.co.uk (Atomic Weapons Establishment)
- MBDA www.mbdacareers.co.uk global missile systems company: designs and produce missiles and missile systems for army, navy and air forces.
- Selex Galileo www.selexgalileo.com/SelexGalileo/EN/Corporate/Careers/index.sdo leader in defence electronics markets, airborne mission critical systems and capabilities for battlefield and for homeland security applications.
- Defence Jobs www.defencejobs.com
MATERIALS. This includes designing advanced instrumentation/microprocessor controls, integrated circuits and semiconductor materials, also glass technology and metallurgy.
- International Rectifier (Semiconductor Manufacturer) www.irf.com
- Snell & Wilcox www.snellwilcox.com Digital Signal Processing Manufacturer
- RAPRA (Rubber and Plastics Research) www.rapra.net
- Materials science/technology Prospects Profile
- The Met Office www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/jobs
- The Royal Meteorological Society www.rmets.org
- Occupational Profile www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ Meteorologist
- Interview with a research scientist at the Met. Office http://plus.maths.org/issue3/career/2pdf/index.html/op.pdf
- Royal Navy www.royalnavy.mod.uk career roles include Meteorological Specialists
- Natural Environmental Research Council Laboratories www.nerc.ac.uk research global warming.
This involves the development and use of novel nanomaterials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes which have the potential to revolutionise fields such as high power batteries, drug delivery, solar cells and computers.
- Institute of Nanotechnology www.nano.org.uk
- POSTGRADUATE COURSES
- M. Res Nanomaterials - Imperial College. 8 to 12 EPSRC funded plus several industrially funded studentships available
- MSc Nanoscale Science and Technology - University of Leeds/Sheffield www.ee.leeds.ac.uk/nanomsc
- MSc Nanophysics and Low Temperature Physics, Royal Holloway, London.
- Optics www.optics.org
- Production and Quality Assurance
- Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer (MLSO)
- Science Teaching
- Technical Sales and Marketing including Medical sales for pharmaceutical companies
- Information Scientist
- Patent Work
- Scientific Journalism and Publishing much of this is now web-based. Roles include editorial, production, sales and marketing.
- Ergonomics (also called human factors) involves making life easier for people. This includes the products you use at home and at work, transport and systems that keep day-to-day life functioning properly. As an ergonomist, you could:
- design products to make them easier or more comfortable to use
- train people to work safely in hazardous places like oil rigs and power plants
- examine the physical strength and endurance of athletes
- analyse pilots’ tasks to ensure maximum performance under stress
- design protective equipment for people working in extreme environments
- improve accessibility for disabled people.
MSc Ergonomics - Loughborough University
Postgraduate Cert. In Applied Ergonomics: University of Nottingham www.virart.nott.ac.uk/ioe/distancelearning/applying.html
See the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors for further information www.ergonomics.org.uk
- Clinical Trials
- Environmental Health Officer
- British Antarctic Survey www.antarctica.ac.uk
- CERN www.cern.ch/jobs/ Laboratory for Particle Physics, Switzerland. Current vacancies are at http://ert.cern.ch
- National Physics Laboratory www.npl.co.uk
- Factory Inspector
- Operational Research www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/operationalresearch.htm
- Air Traffic Controller. National Air Traffic Services www.nats.co.uk
Detailed descriptions of many science and non-science jobs can be found at Prospects Web www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Occupations
Other employers of physics graduates include:
- Oxford Instruments www.oxinst.com/careers/Pages/careers.aspx Core competencies lie in analysing and manipulating matter at the atomic level and focus on developing high-technology tools and systems
- TTP www.ttp.com/jobs technology and product development company: bring new products to market. Recruit physics graduates
- Thermo Fisher Scientific www.thermofisher.com/global/en/about/careers/careers.asp provider of analytical instruments, equipment, reagents and consumables, software and services for research, analysis discovery and diagnostics.
- Ultra Electronics www.ultra-electronics.com/careers group of specialist businesses designing, manufacturing and supporting electronic and electro-mechanical systems, sub-systems and products for defence, security, transport and energy applications worldwide.
- Fraser Nash Consultancy www.fnc.co.uk systems and engineering technology organisation with 400 permanent employees Provide advice to customers in the defence, nuclear, power & energy, civil aerospace, rail, marine, petrochemical and industrial sectors.
- physicist Niels Bohr often told a story to illustrate notions of complexity and understanding. “Once upon a time a rabbinical student went to hear three lectures by a famous rabbi. Afterwards he told his friends,
‘The first talk was brilliant, clear and simple. I understood every word.
The second was even better, deep and subtle. I didn’t understand much, but the rabbi understood all of it.
The third was by far the finest, a great and unforgettable experience. I understood nothing and the rabbi didn’t understand much either.’"
|The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
Bill WattersonThere is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable -There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
A neutron walked into a bar and said, "I'd like a beer, please."
After the bartender gave him one, he said, "How much will that be?"
"For you?" said the bartender, "No charge
A long time ago a student went to three lectures by a famous rabbi. Afterwards he told his friends, ‘The first talk was brilliant, clear and simple. I understood every word. The second was even better, deep and subtle. I didn’t understand much, but the rabbi understood all of it. The third was by far the finest: I understood nothing and the rabbi didn’t understand much either.
Story told by physicist Niels Bohr
A report from Oxford Economics consultancy commissioned by the UK Space Agency says that UK space companies have grown by 10% a year since 2007 and predicts the growth will continue in 2010. The space business now has a turnover of £7.5bn, with employment rising at 15% a year. 80,000 UK jobs are dependent on space in some way.
- Downstream uses space technology: satellite broadcasting and telecommunications, sat-nav. The best performance was in downstream activities (£6.6bn of the total)
- Upstream provides space technology: satellite manufacturing, their components, ground control systems; research, etc. Upstream also had annual growth of 3%.
Over 70% of employees in the sector are degree-qualified. The UK space sector could create up to 100,000 new UK jobs and increase revenues to £40bn a year. Growth areas are likely to include Earth observation, space tourism and broadband internet via satellite.
Space Science Sites
- Space Careers www.space-careers.com contains the Space and Industry Directory, and vacancies.
- International Space University www.isunet.edu
- Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (S-IGS) www.spaceigs.co.uk 20-year vision for UK Space Industry sponsored by UK industry and government
- UK Space umbrella group representing the industry.
- European Space Agency www.esa.int/careers develops launchers and spacecraft. Takes about 100 graduates a year as for example software engineers, propulsion engineers, navigation system engineers and launcher systems engineers. Establishments in Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France
- Airbus Defence and Space www.astrium.eads.net/en/why-join-astrium-p9
- BAe Systems www.baesystems.com/careers/index.htm global aerospace and defence
- European Space Agency www.esa.int/esaCP/index.html major research centre at Harwell, Oxfordshire
- BT www.btplc.com/Careercentre satellite communications
- Logica www.logica.com software design
- Thales www.thalesgroup.com (formerly Thompson CSF and Racal)
- Rolls Royce www.rolls-royce.com
- SciSys www.scisys.co.uk design mission control systems. Based in Wiltshire
- Other companies involved include BSkyB, Inmarsat, Pace, Qinetiq, Fugro and Avanti Communications who operate the new Hylas satellite.
- The Royal Observatory Greenwich : How to be a professional astronomer www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.2417
- The Royal Astronomical Society: Careers in Astronomy, Geophysics and Planetary Science www.ras.org.uk
- European Astronomical Society http://eas.iap.fr
- NASA www.nasa.gov news, links to current and past space missions, and a wealth of information on astronomy and space science.
- The International Planetarium Society www.ips-planetarium.org information about the Planetarium Industry, plus links to planetaria all over the world.
- Astronomy Now – online magazine www.astronomynow.com
- Sky & Telescope magazine www.skyandtelescope.com
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Einstein
A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
If it weren't for time, everything would happen at once.
2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)
If the the speed of light is 300,000 km/s, what is the speed of dark?
If it weren't for Thomas Edison we'd all be watching television by candlelight.
- The Sky at Night www.skyatnightmagazine.com news, forums and Sir Patrick Moore
- The Institute of Physics www.Iop.org Membership for physics students is free throughout the duration of their course. The IOP's website contain information on career opportunities available to physics students www.iop.org/careers/directions/index.html. 'Working Life' contains profiles of physicists that are using their physics, and those whose careers have taken them away from a physics environment. The IoP has a booklet with 40 employers who will take physicists as summer students.
- brightrecruits.com http://brightrecruits.com Institute of Physics site which offers a range of opportunities for jobseekers with a background in physics or engineering. At all stages of your career - whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional.
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council www.epsrc.ac.uk largest funding body for postgraduate study in science.
- Gradcracker Science Vacancies www.gradcracker.com/search-result.php?disciplines=10&search-submit=Search excellent source of jobs for physics graduates
- Inside Careers www.insidecareers.co.uk/patent Patent Agency Careers Information
- ScienceCareers.org http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/europe
- Physics World http://physicsweb.org has a physics jobs section
- SCom www.scom.com Recruitment agency for avionics, telecoms, air traffic and defence
Physics graduates can enter a very wide range of careers both inside and outside science. Once you have read this page, visit the Careers Centre (in Keynes Driveway). You can browse in the Careers Centre as you would a library. You can ask at our helpdesk if you need help.
Bruce Woodcock - Careers Adviser for Physics
Last fully updated 2012