W5 - Physics

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Physics explores questions like: How did the universe start?  How will it end?  What is a black hole?  Is time travel possible?  Physics is the foundation of most modern technologies.  About one third of all physicists work in public service industries, one third in private industry, and one third in secondary and higher education.  Some physicists work on problems at the frontiers of knowledge, others tackle the challenging problems which arise in the application of physical ideas to industrial and engineering problems.  Physics graduates are also employed in occupations such as education, medicine, computing and finance. 

Astronomers use complex equipment to study the stars and galaxies. 

Climatologists study long term interactions between weather and the environment. 

Geophysicists use skills and instruments to understand and predict earth movements related to volcanoes and earthquakes. 

Materials scientists and technologists are involved in a range of areas like transport, sport, aerospace, communications, medicine and energy. 

Medical physicists apply physical sciences to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.  

Metallurgists study and apply the properties of materials, and their behaviour under stress. 

Meteorologists study the atmosphere and its interaction with the Earth’s surface, particularly in relation to weather. 

Planetary scientists study the interaction between the sun and the solar system.      


For further information please see: 


Institute of Physics  

76 Portland Place     London     W1B 1NT
Tel:  020 7470 4800      Fax:  020 7470 4848      Email: schools.education@iop.org
Website  www.iop.org - Choose about careers in physics

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining

1 Carlton House Terrace     London     SW1Y 5DB
Tel:  020 7839 4071      Fax:  028 7823 1638      Email:  instmat@cityscape.co.uk
Website:  www.materials-careers.org.uk - Choose materials careers

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications    

16 Nelson Street     Southend on Sea     Essex     SS1 1EF
Tel: 01702 354020      Fax: 01702 354111      Email:  post@ima.org.uk
Website:  www.ima.org.uk - Choose careers

Royal Astronomical Society  

Burlington House   Piccadilly   London   W1J 0BQ
Tel: 020 7734 4582 / 020 7734 3307     Fax: 020 7494 0166
Website: www.ras.org.uk - Choose education then information for schools and teachers then download How to become a professional astronomer, geophysicist or planetary scientist

General information on Northern Ireland based careers can be found on www.careersserviceni.com - Choose explore careers

Courses in physics and associated areas are available at a number of higher education institutions.  Please see the UCAS site www.ucas.ac.uk for more information - Choose students then courses.  

For information on modern apprenticeships, see the Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland) site www.etcni.org.uk - Choose careers then modern apprenticeships


Other Useful Websites:

British National Space Centrewww.bnsc.gov.uk - Choose learning zone then careers
Discover Science and Engineering www.science.ie - Choose careers
Energy Institutewww.energyinst.org.uk - Choose education and training then careers
Institute of Physicswww.iop.org (general website)
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicinewww.ipem.org.uk - Choose career and then careers in healthcare
Local Government Careerswww.lgcareers.com - Key in physics to career description search
Met Officewww.metoffice.com (general website) 
National Physical Laboratorywww.npl.co.uk (general website) 
Royal Meteorological Societywww.rmets.org (general website) 
Royal Observatory, Greenwichwww.rog.nmm.ac.uk (general website) 
Women into Science and Engineeringwww.wisecampaign.org.uk - Choose Girls