A nuclear physicist can find openings in nuclear power plants, food processing and preservation industry, radiation protection and most importantly research and development
With the discovery of the nucleus and its building blocks, the subject of nuclear physics has seen a steady growth since the beginning of the twentieth century. And along with the growth of the subject or the science in itself, careers in the realm of nuclear physics have also seen a decent increase. Today, nuclear energy tops the priority list in most government agendas world over, and so it is in India. But how can one make a career? “To understand it one must first understand its diversity. Nuclear science is not just related to weapons. It has a varied applicability right from food preservation to energy and from weapons to medical uses. Basically, careers on nuclear physics fall in two broad categories: applied and basic science,” says the Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics, Andhra University, A. Durga Prasad Rao.
A nuclear physicist can find openings as medical physicist, radiographer (both medical field), in nuclear power plants, heavy industries that employ non-destructive technology, teaching, waste management, food processing and preserving industry, radiation protection and most importantly research and development. Prof. Durga Prasad says that opportunities are plenty in the research and development sector. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has a number of institutions under its fold such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics- Kolkata, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Institute of Physics- Bhabaneswar, Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre- Kolkata.
The professor adds that with the country making rapid strides in the energy sector, research and development, medical field and food processing sector, opportunities are bound to increase manifold in the coming years. “Most importantly, for students of nuclear physics, research opportunities are a plenty in the west, be it the US or Europe.”
Andhra University was the first university in the country to start an exclusive department for nuclear physics. The institute was started by Swami (Prof) Jnananda in 1956. The founder completed his Ph.D. under Nobel Laureate James Chadwick, the scientist who discovered neutron. The laboratory at the department was inaugurated by Homi Jehangir Bhabha in 1964.
The department offers a two-year M.Sc. programme in nuclear physics and the entry is through AURPGCET. The basic qualification required is a B.Sc. degree in MPC. There are only a few other universities in the country that offers a full-fledged PG programme in nuclear physics. Such as
Department of Nuclear Physics – Madras University
Department of Physics- University of Calicut
M.Tech programmes are offered by IIT- Kanpur and JNTU – Kakinada