Biologists study living things like animals or plants, and the world around them, to increase our knowledge and understanding of areas such as the environment, genetics, and animal or plant biology.
As a biologist, you could use your skills in a variety of ways, for example:
- in agriculture, to improve productivity in livestock or crops
- to tackle environmental issues, such as ways of cleaning polluted rivers so that fish can thrive
- in conservation, supporting a variety of plants and animals in their natural environment
- in medicine, developing new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease
- in industry, preventing food contamination or creating ways to dispose of waste safely.
Your work would include designing and carrying out experiments, making observations, writing reports and publishing scientific papers based on your research. You could also specialise in related fields such as:
- marine biology
- molecular biology
You would often work in a team with other scientists and technicians, and you may supervise support staff and carry out administration work. If you were based at a university or teaching hospital, you would also teach and mentor students.
As a chemist, you would use your knowledge to develop products and processes in a wide range of areas, for example:
- saving lives through development of new medicines
- analysing the environment and investigating climate change
- protecting health by keeping water supplies clean
- creating new products and controlling quality in the food industry
- finding ways to dispose of industrial waste safely
- inventing new artificial fibres and plastics
- diagnosing and treating illness and disease in the healthcare sector
- analysing forensic evidence in criminal investigations
- teaching, lecturing and academic research.
Whatever industry you worked in, you would follow complex procedures and use sophisticated hi-tech equipment. Your day-to-day tasks would include:
- designing and conducting laboratory experiments
- making observations and noting results
- writing reports and presenting your findings.
You may also supervise the work of support staff such as laboratory technicians, and carry out other administrative work.
As a physicist, you would normally work in one of two areas:
- theoretical analysis – developing ideas, using computer simulations and mathematical modelling techniques to make predictions and explain behaviours
- experimental pure and applied research – devising controlled experiments to test how well theories stand up to results.
You could apply your knowledge of physics in a variety of industries depending on your particular area of expertise. For example, you might be involved in:
- climate forecasting
- developing new medical instruments and treatments
- development of analytical equipment
- working in satellite technology and space exploration
- investigating new ways to generate power
- exploring robotics and artificial intelligence
- teaching in schools, colleges or universities
- using your knowledge to work in publishing, broadcasting or journalism.
When working on a project, you would write reports on your findings for project managers, scientific journals and funding organisations. You may also present your work at scientific meetings and conferences.