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Careers in Physics, Geosciences, and Engineering

Nuclear SciencePhysicists at Work: The laboratory of the physicist extends from the edge of the universe to inside the nucleus of an atom. A physicist may work in a laboratory designing materials for the computer chips of tomorrow, or smashing atomic particles in a quest to understand how our universe began. Physicists seek to make instruments that diagnose and cure disease; to develop safer and cleaner fuels for our cars and homes; to harness the power of the sea; to calculate the movement of arctic glaciers; and to create smaller, faster electronic components and integrated circuits. This website from the American Institute of Physics presents an excellent overview of careers in physics, as well as example of careers in which knowledge of physics is important.

What do geoscientists do? Geo comes from the Greek word for Earth, and geoscientists are people who explore the surface, interior, oceans, atmosphere, and outer space environments of the Earth. Geoscientists climb dangerous volcanoes and study their explosive nature, measure the violent shaking of deadly earthquakes, investigate how Earth's tectonic plates collide to form tremendous mountain ranges and deep valleys, and send sound waves through the crust to explore for oil, natural gas, and minerals. They dive to the bottom of the ocean, fly through hurricanes and chase tornados, forecast tomorrow's weather, rocket into outer space, and even walk on the Moon! This website from the American Geophysical Union provides an excellent overview of careers in geosciences.

Discover Engineering: An interactive site with videos and animated presentations that describe what engineers do, providing an excellent overview of the field of Engineering.

BridgeWhat is Engineering? Wouldn’t you like to shape the future instead of having it just happen to you? Did you know that almost everything made by people took the ideas and work of engineers? Just look around at the things that make your life interesting, comfortable, and fun. The dishes and silverware you eat with, television sets, cars, video games, the bridges you cross on highways, airplanes, ships, and spacecraft—even make-up— all take the work of engineers. This website provides an excellent overview of Engineering and the different fields that engineering students can study.

pipesEngineers apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics to research and develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between perceived social needs and commercial applications. Engineers design products, machinery to build those products, plants in which those products are made, and the systems that ensure the quality of the products and the efficiency of the workforce and manufacturing process. Engineers design, plan, and supervise the construction of buildings, highways, and transit systems. They develop and implement improved ways to extract, process, and use raw materials, such as petroleum and natural gas. This Career Cornerstone site provides detailed information about each of the Engineering subfields (e.g., aerospace, agricultural, chemical, civil, environmental, mechanical, nuclear, and many others) how to prepare for careers in these fields, information about employment and career path prospects, Day in the Life job descriptions and earning potential.

Some photos by UW-Madison University Communications.