Job Duties of a Scientist


Scientists perform detailed research involving all aspects of the natural world, its inhabitants, its elements, its atmosphere and the space around it. Scientists learn from observation, form theories and design tests to determine the validity of their theories. Scientists work for governments, hospitals and medical facilities, private industry and educational institutions to conduct research and contribute to a body of knowledge or apply the results to practical use. The specific job duties of a scientist vary depending on the field in which the scientist specializes and the capacity in which she works.

Job Duties of Atmospheric Scientists

  • Atmospheric scientists study the air surrounding the earth. Meteorologists read data from radar, sensors and weather satellites to compile weather forecasts. They present these forecasts to the general public in radio or television broadcasts or send forecasts to industries that rely on accurate information such as fishing, transportation and agriculture. Climatologists collect and analyze historical weather data to determine patterns. Environmental meteorologists collect data on air quality and prepare reports used in environmental impact statements. Atmospheric scientists may observe weather conditions on the ground and from aircraft.

Job Duties of Geoscientists

  • Geoscientists use sophisticated equipment and computer models to analyze water, rock and earth. They may search for resources like water, iron ore and oil. The field contains many specialties. Engineering geologists advise construction projects. Petroleum geologists map the oil and gas deposits beneath the land and the ocean. Seismologists analyze data related to the Earth's movement and attempt to predict earthquakes. Geoscientists monitor volcanoes and attempt to predict eruptions while others study the movement of glaciers. Hydrologists study precipitation worldwide and create weather models. Paleontologists study fossils, the earth's layers and ocean sediments to understand the history of the Earth. The work of geoscientists frequently includes fieldwork, laboratory research and compiling data into reports.

Job Duties of Physicists

  • Physicists and astronomers study the universe. Physicists research laws that govern motion and energy to add to the current body of knowledge. They often work in research and development on highly specific projects for which they design and write grants. They use lasers, electronic equipment and computers. They compile their work in reports and studies. Astronomers study stars, planets and other celestial phenomenon, often applying their knowledge to space flight, launching satellites and general navigation. Astronomers keep detailed records of their observations and may be involved in mapping projects.

Job Duties of Forensic Scientists

  • Forensic scientists may collect fingerprints, blood, hair and DNA samples along with other physical evidence from crime scenes and analyze them in a laboratory. They use computers, microscopes and ballistics testing equipment to analyze data. They prepare reports and may testify in court about their findings and methods. Toxicologists specialize in analyzing body fluids or making DNA comparisons.

Job Duties of Medical Scientists

  • Medical scientists research human disease and develop vaccines, treatments and cures. Medical scientists design studies to test new drugs and vaccines using both animal and human subjects. They may collect samples of tissue or blood from patients and analyze those using microscopes and computerized lab equipment or handle infectious viruses and bacteria. Medical scientists keep meticulous records and write reports of their findings for publication.

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