Physical Chemist

Physical chemists aim to develop a fundamental understanding at the molecular and atomic level of how materials behave and how chemical reactions occur, knowledge that is relevant in nearly every area of chemistry.

 

Summary

Physical chemists seek to unravel such varied mysteries as how proteins fold into their active state, how complex nanostructures can be formed and behave, how biomolecular motors work, and how global phenomena such as the stratospheric ozone hole originated. They develop theories about these properties, analyze materials, and discover potential uses for materials.

Physical chemists work extensively with sophisticated instrumentation and equipment as well as state-of-the-art computers. When you walk into a physical chemistry lab, for example, it is bound to be packed with computers and large instruments, including lasers, mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers, and a variety of microscopes that can see and follow molecules at atomic resolution.

Physical chemists seek to unravel such varied mysteries as how proteins fold into their active state, how complex nanostructures can be formed and behave, how biomolecular motors work, and how global phenomena such as the stratospheric ozone hole originated. They develop theories about these properties, analyze materials, and discover potential uses for materials.

Physical chemists work extensively with sophisticated instrumentation and equipment as well as state-of-the-art computers. When you walk into a physical chemistry lab, for example, it is bound to be packed with computers and large instruments, including lasers, mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers, and a variety of microscopes that can see and follow molecules at atomic resolution.

 

Educational Requirements

In addition to a solid foundation in chemistry, physical chemists say this career requires strong skills in math and physics. Hands-on courses, such as lab, electronics, and optics courses, are particularly helpful. Also, because the field is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, physical chemists encourage students to take courses outside of their major and develop an understanding of the synergies among the different disciplines. A fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics, kinetics, thermodynamics, and structure is crucial.

 

Median Salary 2013

$49,131

 

Want to know more?

American Chemical Society-Physical Chemists

Chron-Physical Chemist

Physical Chemistry at Purdue

 

Get Connected

Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

American Chemical Society

Physical Chemistry Division of ACS

List of Professional Organizations

The Career Connector for Purdue College of Science Students & Alumni

 

Get Experience

Research & Internship Listings

 

Find a Job

Job Search Sites Related to Your Major

 

Information retrieved from http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/college-to-career/areas-of-chemistry/physical-chemistry.html, http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Chemist/Salary  

 

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

© 2015 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact the College of Science Webmaster.