Who is a physicist?

<p>Is a recent college grad with a BS degree in physics technically a "physicist"? I ask because the boss tells clients that he has a physicist on staff even though this new hire does very little that has to do with physics. This new employee happens to be the boss's son and gets paid the same as I do because of this title even though I have 30 years experience that he does not. Just asking.</p>

<p>Straight from the Dictionary on my desk:</p>

<p>
[quote]
physicist (ˈfɪzɪsɪst) </p>

<p>— n </p>

<p>a person versed in or studying physics

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Now to answer your question. By dictionary....yes. In your world....I have no idea.</p>

<p>DH has a degree in Applied Physics. Never referred to himself as a physicist.</p>

<p>
[quote]
This new employee happens to be the boss's son and gets paid the same as I do because of this title even though I have 30 years experience that he does not.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The title of "boss's son" is much more relevant than the title of "physicist".</p>

<p>I would not consider someone who majored in physics, got a BS, but does not do physics in their job a physicist. Would you consider someone who got a BA in music, but does not play music a musician? Wikipedia says:</p>

<p>A physicist is a scientist who does research in physics.</p>

<p>In most fields I would think someone needs an advanced degree to be properly called a xxxxist.</p>

<p>On the other hand, bosses can say anything they want. If the marketplace objects it will show up in the bottom line.</p>

<p>He's a nice guy and I don't object to working with him, but it just jangles my nerves when I hear him introduced as a "physicist" (especially when he had to go around emptying the trash the night before). I think it's less about him and more about the lack of respect on my part. Perhaps it's my thin skin. I happen to be a middle-aged female working in a male dominated profession and I have often been paid less than my male counterparts through the years.</p>

<p>LOL !I know of no students who graduated with an undergraduate degree in physics who call themselves a Physicist
One needs to have a PhD in Physics to rightfully claim that name.</p>

<p>No real rule. If your job title is physicist, then I'd say you're one whatever degree you had. If you lost that job, unemployed physicist. PhD in physics without ever having a physics job, would be a stretch. Physics prof not doing research would be stretching it a little. The guy with the BS in physics, not using physics wouldn't really count.</p>

<p>I work with someone with a PhD in physics. While his job is more as an engineering manager, everyone considers him a physicist since his knowledge of physics plays a part in our product development and engineering solutions.</p>

<p>My husband has a BS in biology. He is employed as a manufacturing engineer in a non biology related field. No one, including himself, would call him a biologist.</p>

<p>You just figured it out?</p>

<p>That's why many tech people eventually head into the people fields or finance.</p>

<p>I have a relative who is classified as engineer who does physics but what he does is so specialized and theoretical that he thinks himself as a philosopher. :P</p>

<p>Maybe everyone on staff could be referred to by their college major. Then your boss could brag about having a historian/sociologist/economist/political scientist/chemist/biologist/statistician/what have you on board. :)</p>

<p>Besides needing a Ph.D. in Physics, he would also need to have completed a post-doc position in a specific physics field, then be hired by a lab or university to be considered a physicist.</p>

<p>^I don't agree. Many Ph.D's go directly into industry to do highly physics-oriented jobs. These people are physicists and should be considered as such.</p>

<p>The Big Bang Theory. Three of them are physicists and one is an engineer.</p>

<p>I just felt compelled to mention that.</p>

<p>"LOL !I know of no students who graduated with an undergraduate degree in physics who call themselves a Physicist
One needs to have a PhD in Physics to rightfully claim that name. "</p>

<p>I'm sorry - this is a joke right?</p>

<p>My advise - let it go... some folks might simply use "physics major" and "physicist" as synonyms.</p>

<p>colorado_mom,</p>

<p>Yeah, there is certainly nothing to be done, but I was just curious to see what other people thought. I don't know about you, but I would have completely different concepts of 2 people - one introduced to me as having majored in physics and one as being a physicist. Think about it.</p>

<p>In a related field, astronomy, significant contributions have been made be people without even a bachelor's. The discover of Pluto, for example, Clyde Tombaugh was a non-degree technician at the Lowell observatory. Physicists with only bachelor degrees work in the field of radiology, and they're hired as physicists. </p>

<p>In some fields the professional label is controlled by law. In the mental health field only those who a license can represent themselves as psychologists for the purpose of providing professional services. Academics in psychology departments and researchers can also call themselves psychologists.</p>

<p>Fignewton- I would include an industry position as a "lab" job as well.</p>

<p>A chemist doesn't need an advanced degree to do some jobs in that field, I see no difference for physics. Practically speaking most science related jobs require more than the Bachelor's degree (BA or BS- I got a BA in Chemistry since I had met both requirements and liked the white tassle, annoyed my father but medical school didn't care. I don't dare call myself a chemist among my grad school educated chemistry friends, and especially so many decades removed from it). I suspect the boss is proud of his son's college degree and that is why he is using the term. Too naive to know much about the world of physicists or even scientists in general. Eventually the son will get tired of the designation or move on to grad school. Grin and bear it for now. I understand being a woman in a male dominated field- dozens of stories to tell. At least many more women have reached private practice in more fields than in my day, too bad I'm long retired after putting up with so much.</p>