Hubert Reeves

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science

World famous cosmologist and science communicator

"Modern physics allows us to shout 'Long live Freedom!'"

So You Want to Be an Astrophysicist

At first it may appear that all of physics is based on mathematical equations, and indeed it was this theoretical basis that fascinated the young Hubert Reeves. Just by thinking, by calculating, he was amazed how accurately scientists could predict the positions of stars, planets, atoms and much more. But later he realized there was more going on. Something else must come before number and theory. That missing factor is observation. “You always need to start with an observation,” says Reeves. “Mathematics alone can do nothing about knowing the real world. It cannot even tell you what is the number of dimensions you feel.” First comes the observation, he says, then the theory. Ultimately, the theory allows us to do calculations that lead to more observations that confirm or improve the theory. It was this “dialogue” between what we see and what we think that fascinated Reeves, and he feels it should be the driving force behind any career in science.

Typical physics careers include specialties in electronics, communications, aerospace, remote sensing, biophysics, nuclear, optical, plasma or solid state physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Some physicists focus mostly on experiments, while others just do theory.

Career ideas:

  • research scientist, physics
  • research scientist, electronics
  • research scientist, communications
  • research scientist, aerospace
  • research scientist, remote sensing
  • nuclear physicist
  • optics physicist
  • plasma physicist
  • solid state physicist
  • astrophysicist
  • cosmologist
  • experimental physicist

Other scientists who may be of interest:

The ScienceThe Person