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!

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi - Physics Professor

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi was born and raised in Transylvania, and wanted to become a sculptor. He found in school that, as much as he appreciated the arts he perhaps had a greater talent for Physics, after he kept wining Physics competitions in the schools.

He became interested in networks when pursuing his postdoctoral studies at IBM. He was walking in New York City, when he thought about the massive networks of electrical, telephone, gas, and water lines underneath the streets. The idea of finding out more about these networks intrigued him.  As he thought about these utility networks, it struck him that there must be enormous complexity to these networks. "There's no way this could be completely random, " he thought. There had to be more to it, and this observation led him to become more interested in studying networks in more detail.

Some of Barabasi's recent work involves biological networks. One of Barabasi's recent projects on biological networks involved studying how networks can help us understand diseases related to genes; another project focused on how metabolic networks and their properties can help us learn how to design drugs rather than find them through a trial and error process.