American Physical Society
Parent with graduate

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!

Luz Martinez-Miranda

Luz Martinez-Miranda - Professor

Born in Maryland,  Luz Martinez-Miranda moved to Puerto Rico with her family when she was five. She attended University High School where she became interested in Physics,  through the field of optics. At the same time she was enrolled as a student at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico. She went on to attend the University of Puerto Rico where she majored in physics. She balanced her study with piano,  and by the time she finished her major,  she almost had enough credits to earn a second degree in piano performance,  and decided it would be a shame to not finish.

After earning a Master's from the University of Puerto Rico,  she went to graduate school at M.I.T. It was different that the University of Puerto Rico.  Physics classes at MIT were also much larger than those at the University of Puerto Rico.  "It wasn't a shock,  but it was different."

In graduate school and in her professional life,  Martinez-Miranda has learned to complete quality work without spending all her time in her lab. "You have to strike a balance, " she said. She still plays the piano,  but she doesn't own one. Instead,  she owns a harpsichord,  an instrument similar to the piano that was popular in the 1700s,  on which she plays music by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach.