Complex problem solving
Lab or instrumentation skills
Knowledge of physics principles
Paul Markhoff-Johnson's Job:
I work in thin film processing and I recently moved into the field of solar power. My goal is to make less expensive solar cells using thin film technology, thereby making solar energy more affordable and more likely to be widely used. This in turn, might help to clean up the environment.
My Previous Jobs:
Paul has spent most of his career working on creating incredibly thin coatings made of materials selected for their special abilities. The material Paul picks for a coating depends on what he wants the coating to do. For solar cells, he needs materials that generate electricity when the sun shines on them. In disk drives and disks, like those used in MP3 players, the coatings must have magnetic properties to create many tiny magnets inside the devices for storing huge amounts of information.
M.S., Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
B.A., Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
I took a physics class and suddenly I had a language to explain the things that I was seeing around me, like why a car goes. It was really exciting. I also had a great physics teacher who wanted the class to be about learning, not competing for grades. He was one of my favorite teachers in high school.
I actually started college wanting to major in engineering, but after a while I figured out that physics would allow me far more career options. Physics also gave me a basic understanding of the world that I could use to solve problems.