Careers in Physics Northern Michigan University Department of Physics
What is Physics? • Physics is the most basic of sciences and involves the study of phenomena from the microscopic (atoms/molecules) to the macroscopic (e.g. the motion of a ball) to the megamacrosopic (stars and galaxies). • Physics topics include: motion, force, energy, momentum, heat and thermodynamics, waves, electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, modern physics, quantum mechanics, materials…….and on and on.
What Can You Do With a Physics Degree? • Physicist/Material Scientist • Engineer (Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Nuclear, etc.) • Astronomer/Astrophysicist • Teacher (high school/college/university) • Computer Programmer • Financial Analyst/Lawyer/Physician • Meteorologist • Technical Writer/Editor • MANY OTHERS
Where Do Physicists Work? • Industry • Government Laboratories • Academia
Job Qualifications • Ability for original and creative thinking. • Problem solving ability. • Ability to break complex ideas down into simpler, solvable problems. • Mathematical ability. • Ability to invent, build, and work with experimental apparatus. • Ability to clearly express ones ideas in verbal or written form.
Academic Preparation • High School: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English and writing, and all the mathematics you can take. • Undergraduate: Introductory through advanced physics courses and all the mathematics you can take. Computer programming is very important. • Graduate: Specialization with graduate courses and a lot of research (theoretical or experimental), mathematics, and computer programming. • KNOWING HOW TO WRITE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!!!
Internship Experiences • For undergraduates, beside the research opportunities available in their university’s department, summer REU’s (research experience for undergraduates) are widely available throughout the U.S. • Study abroad may be possible. • Scientific or technically oriented companies may provide opportunities. • Opportunities exist as interns in government.
Degree Programs • Bachelor’s Degree candidates would work as technical aides to PhD physicists or engineers or, with teaching certification, could teach in high schools. • Master’s Degree candidates could work as team leaders or engineers, or work for PhD physicists. Can also teach in two or four year colleges. • Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) would be project research leaders, or could also do research and teach at universities.
Demand/Growth/Salaries • As the U.S. economy rebounds and focuses on science and technology to bring us back on track, demand will grow, especially for women. • Academic positions are competitive and can be hard to match well to as they often require specific expertise and previous experience. • Starting salaries depend on degree and industry vs academia. Salaries can range from $35,000 to $100,000 depending on location, degree, and experience.
NMU Information • Located in Marquette, Michigan (Upper Peninsula) on Lake Superior….beautiful, natural environment. • Approximately 9000 students. • Outstanding teaching and research facilities, much of it new within the past 10 years. • High quality academic programs. • Easy faculty accessibility. • Opportunities for undergraduate researc h. • Relatively small campus….easy to get to classes.
Physics at NMU • Outstanding teaching faculty. All physics major courses are taught by PhD faculty with degrees fromStanford, Indiana, Penn State, Kent State, and Michigan Tech. • Small major…students get to know faculty well. • Easy to meet with faculty. • Full complement of physics courses. • Research areas include low energy nuclear spectroscopy, theoretical particle/field, introductory astronomy.
Physics at NMU (cont.) • Two observatories with 16” Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. • Majors have a great office facility. • Active physics club involved in outreach activities. • Annual trip to Argonne National Lab for research presentations. • Student success in obtaining summer REU’s.
NMU Physics Students • Typically between 2 and 6 graduates each year. • Most go onto graduate school. Schools include: Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Texas Tech, Stanford, Michigan Tech, Minnesota. • Some students go to graduate school in engineering or work with their Bachelor’s degree in a technical field. • Physics (science in general) is a good major for students interested in law school.
Contact Information Highly recommend a campus visit. NMU Admissions (906-227-2650) NMU Physics Dr. David Lucas 906-227-2191 firstname.lastname@example.org