Computational Physicist

Create computer simulations of physical phenomena.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$53,000 – $154,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Computational Physicists do?

In the simplest terms, a Computational Physicist is exactly what it sounds like: someone who does physics with computers. In this job, you spend a lot of time doing research in fundamental mathematics, and developing computer models of physical processes or phenomena in order to find scientific solutions to incredibly complex problems. So if you’re thinking about a career as a Computational Physicist, you’ve probably been thinking about it for a long time.

As a Computational Physicist, your work revolves around physics, computer science, math, and theories about how systems in each of those areas might behave. Your work directly contributes to real-life, relevant applications such as environmental modeling, nuclear cleanup, groundwater transport, medical imaging, and energy management. You’re an expert not only on computers and science, but also on how computer algorithms and simulations connect the two fields.

Modern Computational Physicists are currently researching accelerator physics, astrophysics, fluid mechanics, plasma physics, and soft condense matter physics. As modern Physicists explore these concepts, they face increasing mathematical problems that require a brilliant mind like yours to figure out. You help model each system in order to truly understand their theoretical and physical properties.

In the current market, work is available within the energy and aerospace sectors, chemical and pharmaceutical companies, and the field of environmental management. You might also do extensive research in the academe and in industrial laboratories, or even find yourself crunching numbers for studies in oceanography, material science, geophysics, medicine, or finance.

Should I be a Computational Physicist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.

  • How to become a Computational Physicist

    Most Computational Physicists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaqh9&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2815%25%29|master%27s+%2830%25%29|doctorate+%2856%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,56
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