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Environment and energy

Environment and energy

Green jobs for physics graduates: opportunities to help build a sustainable future

02 Oct 2021 Laura Hiscott
Taken from the October 2021 issue of Physics World. Members of the Institute of Physics can enjoy the full issue via the Physics World app.

With their mix of technical knowledge and problem-solving skills, physics graduates are ideally placed to tackle the world’s environmental challenges. In a series of articles, Laura Hiscott speaks to a range of physicists who are doing their bit to build a greener, more sustainable future

green jobs abstract
Green thinking There are lots of approaches to tackling climate change (Courtesy: iStock/Yuri_Arcurs)

If the last few years of environmental coverage has taught us anything, it is that the climate crisis is a complex problem with no silver bullet. Effectively mitigating it will require a multifaceted approach that incorporates technological solutions as well as behaviour change at the governmental, corporate and individual levels. For physicists, the challenges of meeting our needs sustainably are already opening up lots of interesting and creative job opportunities.

In many of these roles, the skills and knowledge you gain from a physics degree are invaluable. As well as being numerate and having technical knowledge, you’ll have computer programming skills and practice of applying physical principles to solve real-world problems. To guide you through the myriad options, I spoke to nine physicists whose work relates to three main aspects of sustainability: policy and behaviour change; decarbonizing energy sources; and finance and economics. You can find links to those articles in the box below.

Green jobs case studies

Throughout this month we’re publishing a series of articles looking at three aspects of sustainability where physicists are key.

Policy and behaviour change

Eunice Lo, researcher, University of Bristol, UK

Mark Crouch, carbon management team lead, Mott MacDonald

Rosemary Pickering, senior sustainable business analyst, Farfetch

Decarbonizing energy sources

Ann Davies, chief operations officer, Lightsource BP

Hari Chohan, nuclear radiation analyst, UK Atomic Energy Authority

Rhiann Canavan, scientific project manager, Crossfield Fusion

Finance and economics

Rustam Majainah, senior pricing analyst, OVO

Flora Biggins, PhD student, University of Sheffield, UK

Lewis Ashworth, programme manager, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change

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