Physicists and astronomers (NOC 2111)

About this job

Physicists and Astronomers are both a part of this occupational group.

Physicists:

  • conduct research to gain knowledge of the natural world and to develop new processes and devices in fields such as electronics, communications, power generation and distribution, aerodynamics, optics and lasers, and medicine and health
  • work for 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, research and consulting firms

Astronomers:

  • conduct research to extend knowledge of the universe
  • work for government and universities
Common job titles
  • aerodynamicist / aerophysicist
  • astronomer / radio astronomer
  • astrophysicist / cosmologist
  • physicist, medical
  • physicist, microwave
  • physicist, nanotechnology
  • aerodynamicist / aerophysicist
  • astronomer / radio astronomer
  • astrophysicist / cosmologist
  • biophysicist / medical engineering
  • metrologist
  • physicist, acoustics

Duties

Physicists:

  • design and carry out 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 creation of experimental, industrial or medical equipment, instrumentation and procedures

May specialize in fields such as:

  • aeronomy and space
  • acoustics
  • atomic and molecular physics
  • biophysics
  • condensed matter or solid state physics
  • electromagnetic
  • fluids and aerodynamics
  • health physics
  • medical physics
  • metrology
  • particle physics
  • optics and laser physics
  • nuclear physics
  • plasma physics

Astronomers:

  • design and carry out observational surveys, detailed analyses and numerical models to gain knowledge of celestial bodies and cosmic radiation
  • create or participate in the development of instrumentation and software for astronomical observation and analysis

Work environment

Work in this occupation is typically performed in a structured environment, such as an office or a university. Work may also be conducted either outdoors or in observatories.

Hazards exist as a part of carrying out various job duties within these occupations. For example, exposure to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays and radioactive substances, or non-ionizing radiation, such as radio frequencies and infrared, ultraviolet or visible light, may affect health adversely.  Use of safety precautions and procedures minimize these risks.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Physicists may work closely with and perform some of the duties of engineers. Also, mobility between specializations within physics, within astronomy and other fields of science, such as meteorology and geophysics, is possible with experience. Progression to management positions is possible with experience.

Additional resources

Additional resources are not currently available for this career.