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Q & A: Qualifications to be a Physicist

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Most recent answer: 04/22/2013
Q:
What are the qualifications required to be physics scientist?
- Varun (age 15)
India
A:

Great question Varun!

The most important qualification needed to be a physicist or any kind of scientist is to be curious about the world around you. This is important because this curiosity is what drives scientists to understand the unknown and try to explain how the universe works from astrophysics to quantum physics to molecular biology.

That is the only real qualification needed in order to be any kind of scientist. However, there are other skills that would make it easier to be a scientist. One is to have a strong mathematical ability. This is because the language of the sciences is mathematics because it is used to not only analyze the data that is collected but also in order to formulate in a precise way any new laws when they are discovered. Another is to be patient. If you are an experimentalist, it could take years to design and perfect your experiments and even longer to get a result that is measurable and consistent enough to not be just chance. If you are a theorist, it takes time to develop theories that describe the world as it is currently known and that can give meaningful predictions. It also helps to be able to see, measure, collect, and analyze data objectively. That is the best way to be able to discover laws and is part of the scientific method. Finally, if you want to be an experimentalist, it is advantageous to be good with your hands so you can set up and run experiments effectively and without too much relative struggle.

All of that being said, all you really need is curiosity and a determination to explore the world around you!

I hope this helps!

Erik


(published on 04/22/2013)

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