Physicists and Astronomers

Last updated December 31, 2014

The Milky Way galaxy is a collection of billions of stars, including our planet, our moon, and our sun at its outer edge. Physicists and astronomers use the theories of physics to study the galaxy and everything in it, from the mysterious black holes that may result when giant stars collapse to the movement of electrons.

Of course, no one physicist or astronomer studies everything in the galaxy. If you choose this field, you’ll specialize in an area such as nuclear physics or astrobiology. As an astronomer or physicist, you’ll come up with your own theories and create experiments to see if they’re correct.

Physicists study the laws and structures of all that exists in the universe, including gravity and other natural forces. Astronomers use physics to study space and the bodies within it, like planets and stars.

“Physics tries desperately to define the world in all its complexity.” Martin, Physicist/Defense Analyst

Are You Ready To...?

  • Answer complicated questions
  • Use advanced math and computers
  • Work with high-tech equipment, such as lasers and telescopes
  • Keep careful records of your research
  • Publish research papers
  • Give talks at conferences

It Helps To Be...

Someone with questions about why the world is the way it is. People who like logic and math and who want to understand the nature of nature will enjoy physics and astronomy.

Make High School Count

  • Take advanced math and science classes, including calculus and calculus-based physics.
  • Get familiar with computers. While astronomers do look through telescopes, they spend most of their time analyzing data on computers.

Did You Know?

Some physicists work with particle accelerators, often miles long, which speed up atoms until they smash together to reveal the particles they’re made of.