What does an engineering physicist do?

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What is an Engineering Physicist?

Engineering is about the way things work. Physics is about why things work the way they do. Engineering physicists apply the principles and concepts of physics to develop new technologies and solve practical engineering problems. Part physicist, part engineer, they are the liaison officers between research and technology. They are called upon to apply their knowledge and skills from both of these domains to areas such as medicine, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Because engineering physics is the broadest and most basic of all engineering programs, the engineering physicist may be a manufacturing engineer, a materials scientist, an acoustic engineer, an aerospace engineer, a nuclear engineer, or a physicist. The interdisciplinary knowledge of the engineering physicist is designed for the continuous innovation occurring in a world driven by technology.

What does an Engineering Physicist do?

Engineering physicists solve problems and apply scientific discoveries in a practical way. They may uncover new insights and create new knowledge about lasers, optics, robotics, imaging systems, superconductors, hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, nanotechnology, or nuclear science. They may use what they learn to design solutions to technical problems in the electronics, communications, aerospace, biomedical, or energy industries.

Two engineering physicists working with a laser deposition chamber.

Engineering physicists may help design and develop instruments, measurement techniques, or prototype systems related to:

  • Acoustics – sound reproduction, hall design, and speakers
  • Communications – fiber optics, lasers, antenna design, and wireless communications
  • Electronics and computer technologies – designing amplifiers, logic circuits, computer peripherals, and detectors
  • Environmental sciencesoceanography, pollution detection and control, meteorology, and climatology
  • Instrumentation and control systems – medical instruments and equipment, sensing equipment
  • Lasers and optics – holography, non-linear optics, photonics, and telecommunications
  • Materials science – biomaterials, magnetic thin films, semiconductor devices, and superconductivity
  • Medicine – medical imaging techniques, radiation treatment, and prosthetics
  • Microelectronics – designing components and circuits, sensors, and novel processes
  • Nanotechnology – high-resolution imaging and structured engineered materials
  • Nuclear or plasma science – reactor design and waste management, detecting radiation
  • Space science – designing instruments for satellite or ground-based observations

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What is the workplace of an Engineering Physicist like?

Engineering physicists work in office settings, industrial plants, and laboratories. The nature of their work requires that they collaborate with people from many other disciplines. Their typical employers include:

  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Universities and other research and development facilities
  • Governments
  • Manufacturing and other private sector firms
  • Resource and high-tech industries such as telecommunications, microelectronics, nuclear power, and aerospace

Working long hours and under pressure to meet deadlines and define procedures and standards is not uncommon in this field.

Engineering Physicists are also known as:
Engineer Physicist Physicist Engineer