What is a chemist's day like?

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Chemistry is responsible for many of the things that we use on a daily basis. Some of these things include various medicines, clothing materials, semi-conductors, and environmental improvements.

Chemists can choose to work either in a macroscopic environment that one can see, feel, and touch, or work in a microscopic world that one can’t directly see, feel, or touch. They can also choose to work in research (pure chemistry) which has no practical application and is simply knowledge gathering.

Because chemists are involved in so many areas, there is no typical day. However, there are some common tasks they all share.

Common Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Create, or synthesize, new substances
  • Analyze substances and create data
  • Carry out lab work to develop and improve both new and existing products
  • Create models and test the predictive power of theories
  • Develop formulations in the lab
  • Measure physical properties of substances
  • Analyze basic properties of matter to find new uses and applications
  • Conduct quality control tests
  • Analyze compounds to determine chemical or physical properties
  • Analyze compounds to determine composition, structure, relationships, or reactions
  • Introduce chemical catalysts for quantitative or qualitative analysis
  • Use chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques
  • Test material made for quality and performance, then report results
  • Help solve quality issues and troubleshoot manufacturing issues
  • Develop new products and improve existing products and manufacturing processes
  • Write technical papers or reports
  • Confer with scientists or engineers to conduct analyses of research projects
  • Interpret test results or develop nonstandard tests
  • Prepare standards and specifications for processes and products
  • Evaluate laboratory safety procedures
  • Ensure compliance with standards and make improvements as needed
  • Study the implications of newly discovered chemical properties
  • Maintain laboratory instruments
  • Prepare test solutions and compounds for laboratory testing
  • Direct, coordinate, or advise personnel in test procedures
  • Communicate with customers to determine what they require from a product
  • Communicate with suppliers to determine what products they can offer for a project

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