American Physical Society
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Advice for Parents of Children that like Physics and Physical Science

If your child likes to ask why, takes things apart to figure out how they work and is excited about doing experiments in their physics and physical science classes, they may make great physicists. Of course, you might be wondering how they should prepare to become a physicist and exactly what they will for a living, once they become a physicist. The answer is that they can do a wide variety of things as a physicist. Some physicists pursue careers in medicine, others pursue careers in wind or solar energy technology development. Some physicists pursue careers in communications technology and others pursue careers as consultants to either the government or corporations. There are many options, but most of these options are hard for students to notice because, as you may have noticed, the word physics seldom appears in the career path.

So how does your student learn about the options? This website is a good place to start. They can browse through a library of Profiles of Physicists and see specific examples of how others have used college degrees in Physics to pursue exciting and diverse career paths. They can learn a bit about the various specialty areas in physics (astronomy, nuclear, materials, etc) by browsing the Physics Topics section. They can learn what companies have hired physicists with bachelors degrees in the past few years in the Physicist Employers section. When they want to get down to practical details of what types of salaries they can earn as a physicist, they can check out the Physics Career Facts section. They may also want to know how to prepare for their career and how to finance their education. The answers to these questions are found in the Information for Students section. Of course, you can learn more by browsing these sections, too!

After looking through what you find here, there are bound to be questions that you wish you could ask a real physicist, so how can you find someone to answer these questions? Check out the Physics Educational Institutions section. There are over 750 colleges and universities that grant degrees in Physics and there is bound to be one close to you. Each one of these programs employs physicists that would be happy to answer your questions and talk to your student about physics and career paths for Physicists!

Hakeem Oluseyi

Hakeem Oluseyi - Professor

Hakeem Oluseyi was born in Mississippi and grew up in different ghettos around the south. Hakeem says that he was always interested in sciences, but was first really exposed to them at 11 when he came across some of Einstein's work. Growing up, the culture expected one to fight in order to establish one's worth. This did not interest Hakeem, so he opted for reading inside instead. He was excited about reading Einstein's work "It just knocked my socks off!" he says. "I was like,  what?!? Mass increases? Length contracts? Oh,  my god!... I did everything I could to get my head around this stuff."

This passion for physics followed him through to high school where he won a prize in a science competition for a program he wrote. The judges encouraged him to become a physicist, but he was hesitant. After he graduated, he spent some time in the military and then attended Tougaloo College in Mississippi, where he was one of two physics majors.

After graduating, Oluseyi was introduced to the research world through a summer program at the University of Georgia, where he experienced a sort of culture shock when compared to the world he grew up in. He did not expect the amount of freedom and trust he was given.

He started attending graduate school at Stanford, which proved to be a challenge for him, requiring him to take extra undergraduate classes to keep up, but Oluseyi had an encouraging adviser, and he left Stanford with a Ph.D.