Chemists and Materials Scientists

Last updated December 31, 2014

You may not realize it, but the products of chemistry play a big role in our daily lives. Chemists and materials scientists create the building blocks for medicines like Prozac or products such as plastic bags. Even the chocolate, marshmallow, and banana flavors of the processed food you eat were created in a lab by food chemists.

Chemists and materials scientists working in applied research come up with new products for industrial, commercial, and medical use.

Chemists research chemicals -- the building blocks of all materials. Materials scientists conduct research on the structures and compositions of materials.

“I like being able to work with my hands in the lab, making compounds and isolating cells.”Jake, Postdoctoral Fellow in Biological Chemistry

Are You Ready To...?

  • Use your hands to build apparatuses and perform experiments
  • Use computers and high-level math
  • Publish papers
  • Give talks at conferences
  • Keep up with the latest research
  • Work with a team

It Helps To Be...

Detail-oriented so that you don’t miss anything when making observations. You’ll also need to be creative, so you can come up with your own ideas about what you want to work on.

Make High School Count

  • Get a strong background in science and build lab skills by taking advanced chemistry, physics, and biology classes.
  • Take computer courses, such as computer science. You’ll be using computers to model things like molecules.

Did You Know?

Chemists and materials scientists work in specific fields, such as biochemistry, which deals with the chemical reactions in living organisms.