A career in engineering is a popular choice for people interested in physics. While physicists study how the universe works and how different phenomena interact, engineers apply this knowledge to design, build and produce a range of objects, from robots to helicopters.
There are so many different specialities in engineering, so you’ll be sure to find one that fits your interests. Aeronautical engineers design and maintain aircraft (passenger planes, space shuttles), while renewable energy engineers oversee the supply of renewable energy sources to our communities. Furthermore, there’s been a lot of conversations about robotics and AI recently, so a role as a robotics engineer would put you at the forefront of robotics research.
If you’ve found it challenging to choose between a physics career and one in the medical sector, this is the perfect sector for you. Medical physicists apply physics principles to medical technologies, ensuring illnesses are diagnosed and treated as quickly and effectively as possible. This role is diverse and varied, with medical physicists designing new devices, planning treatment programmes, presenting to a range of audiences and even using computer simulations to conduct research. Medical physicists can work in different departments, such as audiology, cardiology, and medical imaging (MRIs, X-rays, CT scans).
A career as a physics teacher is a great way for you to get the next generation interested in physics. The majority of physics teaching jobs are in schools, colleges and universities, but you could also work as a physics tutor or in government shaping how physics is taught in school. You’ll work to design lesson plans and experiments that will keep your students engaged, but will also support students who are struggling with the subject and design and mark homework and exams. If you’re worried about the financial cost of teaching qualifications, trainee physics teachers are eligible for scholarships and bursaries of £27,000.
If planning and designing experiments is your favourite part of physics, a career as a physicist is a great opportunity for you to pursue this interest further. Physicists study the universe and its phenomena, in order to understand how and why the universe works in the way it does. By planning, designing and conducting experiments, and analysing the results, you’ll make new discoveries about the universe. Many of the insights gained from physicists have led to the development of new products, and made existing ones more effective. For example, we wouldn’t have MRI scanners or telecommunication devices (phones) without physicists.
How can I learn more about physics outside of work/school?
Your interest in physics doesn’t need to end outside of the classroom or office. If you’re still in school, you could reach out to physicists whose research you admire, asking if they’d be interested in talking to you about their work and how they got into the field. You can also attend physics exhibits and conferences open to the public, to learn more about the influence of physics on our daily lives. Organisations like the Institute of Physics offer discounted memberships, which give you access to a range of physics events and resources.