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Title: Careers in Atomic Energy
Author: McIlhenny, Loyce
Language: English
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Careers in Atomic Energy


Division of Technical Information

_Understanding the Atom Series_

The Understanding the Atom Series

Nuclear energy is playing a vital role in the life of every man,
woman, and child in the United States today. In the years ahead it
will affect increasingly all the peoples of the earth. It is essential
that all Americans gain an understanding of this vital force if they
are to discharge thoughtfully their responsibilities as citizens and
if they are to realize fully the myriad benefits that nuclear energy
offers them.

The United States Atomic Energy Commission provides this booklet to
help you achieve such understanding.

    [*  Handwritten signature]

    Edward J. Brunenkant, Director
    Division of Technical Information


    Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, Chairman
    James T. Ramey
    Wilfrid E. Johnson
    Dr. Theos J. Thompson
    Dr. Clarence E. Larson

Careers in Atomic Energy

by Loyce J. McIlhenny


    THE SCIENTIFIC MIND                              3
    SCIENTISTS ARE PEOPLE                            3
    THE TIME TO BEGIN                                3
    COLLEGE: IS IT A NECESSITY?                      5
    COLLEGE: HOW MANY YEARS?                         7
        Physical and Biological Sciences             7
        Engineering                                  8
        Medicine                                     8
        Veterinary Science                           9
        Scientific Writing                           9
        Supporting Fields                            9
    WORK OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTIST                    11
        Physics                                     11
        Chemistry                                   13
        Biology                                     14
        Geology                                     15
        Engineering                                 15
        Mathematics                                 17
        Medicine                                    18
        Related Fields                              18
        The United States Government                20
        Private Industry                            20
        Educational Organizations                   21
        Hospitals                                   21
        State and Local Governments                 21
        Other Organizations                         22
    PROFESSIONAL SATISFACTION                       22
    SELECTED READING LIST                           23

    United States Atomic Energy Commission
    Division of Technical Information>

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-60275
    1962; 1964(Rev.)


After receiving a degree in English at the University of Houston, Mrs.
McIlhenny worked for nine years in editorial capacities at the Oak
Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, where she prepared this booklet.
She is now a housewife in Falls Church, Virginia.

Careers in Atomic Energy


Today virtually every aspect of science is concerned in some way with
the atom.

Physicians use radiation to treat disease. Mechanical engineers design
components for nuclear reactors. Electrical engineers convert the
energy of the atom into electricity. Botanists use radioactivity to
learn more about plants, and zoologists use it to study animals.
Chemists investigate compounds with radioisotopes. Physicists and
mathematicians work out the intricate interrelations among the tiny
particles of the atom. Agronomists use radioactive materials to
improve fertilizers and crops, and nutritionists use them to improve
animal diets.

A student--YOU--can find your career in atomic energy in any branch of
science you choose because “atomics” is not a field unto itself
divorced from the rest of the scientific world.

The best preparation for a career in nuclear energy begins with
elementary arithmetic. This preparation advances through general
science, algebra, biology, chemistry, physics, geometry, and
trigonometry. The aspiring scientist will be wise to lay the
groundwork for his future long before he reaches college by studying
as much mathematics and science as he can handle. Although many a
now-successful chemist entered college without knowing how to balance
an equation, keen competition today demands that college freshmen have
a solid foundation in mathematics and science.

Even in an age of specialization, the interrelation of the sciences
has made it necessary for a scientist to have at least a speaking
acquaintance with areas outside his own field. A chemist, for example,
may find himself involved in biology; the research interests of a
biologist may lead him into physics.

Moreover, English-speaking peoples have no monopoly on scientific
accomplishment. Proficiency in German and French, at least a reading
knowledge, has long been considered desirable and is often required of
the serious scientist. In the light of modern developments, a reading
knowledge of Russian might well be added to the list, and, as other
countries and cultures expand their technologies, familiarity with
still other languages may become necessary. (Indeed, a number of
scientists who completed doctoral degrees years ago have recently
begun to study Russian. This is not surprising since the education of
a true scientist never stops with an academic degree, a job
appointment, or a significant discovery.)

The most brilliant physicist on earth is of doubtful worth if he can’t
communicate his ideas to other people. Thus even more important than a
knowledge of foreign languages is a knowledge of one’s own. Almost too
late has come the realization that many college graduates in the
United States, although proficient in their particular fields, cannot
write a correct English sentence. Accurate scientists cannot afford
inaccurate communication. Proficient scientists know their own

The Scientific Mind

A widespread popular belief exists that the “scientific mind” is a
trait that some people inherit and others don’t, like red hair or
brown eyes. This is both true and false. Essentially, an innate
“scientific mind” does not exist. In the natural course of growing up,
however, some people acquire or develop certain characteristics that
are most commonly found in successful scientists. These
characteristics include curiosity, caution, thoroughness, patience,
perseverance, and logical reasoning power. These are general traits,
and all can be developed to some degree.

Scientists Are People

With increased national attention focused on scientific activities,
some people have developed strange notions about the man who wears a
lab coat. Scientists have a high degree of objectivity in the
laboratory, but they usually are not different from the rest of
society in matters of religion, marriage, parenthood, or politics.
Often they don’t adhere to a strict eight-hour day, but neither does a
salesman. They may seem unusually dedicated to their profession, but
so does a master chef. They rarely are geniuses; sometimes they have
superior intelligence; but frequently they have ordinary intelligence.
Most are reasonably well balanced, some are eccentric, and a few are
downright peculiar. But these same characteristics can describe
lawyers, businessmen, and secretaries.

The Time to Begin

If you are seriously planning a career in science and if you are
devoting your time to the study of science, mathematics, English, and
foreign languages, you are laying the foundation in school right now
for your future. You--whether you are a he or a she--can begin now
without waiting until the sixth, or ninth, or twelfth grade introduces
you to further courses.

[Illustration: Girls have no reason to feel that any branch of
science, including nuclear technology and engineering, is strictly a
“man’s job.”]

Beginning now, you can supplement your studies by exploring science
through books. You can go to your school library and to your public
library for reading material. Teachers and librarians can help you
select material.

The doors of knowledge can open, however, only as rapidly as you can
read. The sheer bulk of scientific literature in print today is
staggering. Any student who is a slow reader should seek immediate
help from his teachers. Slow reading does not prove a slow mind, nor
does slow reading improve comprehension. Both these ideas are false,
and, if you mistakenly cling to either one, you cheat yourself. As a
matter of fact, probably not one person in a million reads as rapidly
as he can, and it would behoove even the exceptionally rapid reader to
work at improving this basic skill, which is essential to all

Further, if you want to do serious scientific study, ask your teachers
to outline science projects that you can undertake after school or
during free periods. Many projects that are both educational and fun
can be undertaken without costly equipment or a complete laboratory.

Other means of improving scientific understanding and competence
outside the classroom include science clubs, state junior academies of
science, and participation in science fairs. If these activities do
not exist in your area, perhaps you can whip up enough interest among
students, teachers, and parents to start them. If not, you can channel
your science projects through such organizations as boys’ clubs or

The student who is avidly studying science in school and in
extra-curricular activities sometimes sets his sights on a summer
laboratory job. Although this is certainly worthwhile, often it cannot
be realized. Many opportunities exist, however, for valuable summer
study and training in the approximately 200 special programs for
science students at colleges and universities. These programs are
sponsored by the National Science Foundation to provide outstanding
high-school students with unusual laboratory and study experiences.

College: Is It a Necessity?

Many intelligent and successful people never attended college, but few
of them are in the scientific ranks. If you want a career in science,
you must first select a college or university. Many factors, of
course, determine this choice.

The first question you have to ask yourself is a rather grim one:
which schools will admit me? With the rapid increase in student
population, the shortage of teachers, and the physical facilities of
universities strained to bursting, it is no longer possible for
colleges to admit everybody who wants to enter. Again, as always, this
is where hard work in elementary and in high school pays off: good
grades in “solid” subjects are master keys to university gates.
Entrance exams required by many schools are stiff, but a background of
twelve years of conscientious study usually prepares you to deal with

A college education is a costly business anywhere these days, but
expenses can vary greatly from school to school. Once again the matter
of precollege achievement crops up: open to undergraduate students
with top records are scholarships and special educational loans and
other programs designed to offset or defray college expenses.

After you consider entrance requirements and cost, you should weigh
the location of the school, course offerings in your field of
interest, faculty, and facilities. You should also evaluate the size
and type of the institution in terms of your own personality. Parents,
teachers, and local scientists can be excellent counselors in helping
you make the decision.

Inevitably some intelligent students who lack motivation fail to
achieve top grades in high school. Science careers are open even to
these students if they choose their colleges carefully. Sometimes
small, less well-known colleges will admit them because the
competition for entrance is not as great as it is in “name” colleges.
Small schools should not be dismissed as “second rate.” They are
usually staffed by fine teachers, and, even with limited laboratory
facilities, such colleges still offer excellent training.

Scholarships and Other Financial Assistance

A number of fellowships, scholarships, grants, and awards are
available to assist the aspiring scientist in his education.

This financial assistance is offered by colleges; local, state, and
federal government agencies; industry; private foundations; and

Literally thousands of other educational assistance programs exist. A
list of some publications that contain information on currently
available assistance is printed in the back as a guide. Some of the
publications are in most libraries; others must be ordered from the
publisher. Since financial assistance programs are undergoing constant
change and revision, no directory can be complete, but these books
will give you an indication of the range of the programs.

College: How Many Years?

Although it is common for a student to change his primary interest
from one science to another during his college training, he should
have in mind from the beginning the sort of broad career he wants and
the amount of time that preparation will take.

For example, a bachelor’s degree in one of the physical or geological
sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, geology, archaeology,
agriculture, metallurgy, or mathematics usually requires four years.
Some engineering programs require five. A medical student, on the
other hand, sometimes takes only three years of college and then goes
directly into medical school without a bachelor’s degree but with six
to eight years of training still ahead of him.

Physical and Biological Sciences

Most scientific endeavor today is undertaken by teams composed of
individuals with doctor’s, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in the
sciences. These teams have supporting technical and administrative
personnel to help them function efficiently.

In the physical and biological fields, scientists with doctor’s
degrees have probably spent three to six years in college after they
received their bachelor’s degrees. They are likely to head the team
and to have the responsibility for planning and directing research and
development projects.

Individuals with master’s degrees have spent about two years in
graduate school. They have some research training and undertake
scientific projects under direction, although they may also have some
responsibility for planning and supervising.

The bachelor’s degree is not a research degree, and team members
without graduate training are not likely to direct research. They
probably spend their time conducting fairly routine research duties
under the guidance of more highly trained supervisors.

The above outline is a general description of the typical situation;
work conditions may vary greatly depending on the individual and his


Traditionally engineering has been somewhat different. Many engineers
held responsible jobs after receiving only a bachelor’s degree. Some
did earn a master’s degree, but few studied for a doctorate.

In the last ten years, however, this trend has changed with many more
engineers receiving master’s and doctor’s degrees. Advanced study is
especially important for a career in the nuclear field because the
undergraduate years are filled mainly with basic engineering, and most
nuclear courses must be taken at the graduate level. Moreover, the
engineering sciences, as all other fields, are becoming increasingly
complex. Thus graduate study through at least a master’s degree is
advisable for the engineer.

The prospective engineering student should realize that a bachelor’s
degree will take from four to five years to complete, a master’s
degree will require an additional one to two years, and a doctor’s
degree will involve still another two to four years.


A career in medicine is still a different story.

After three to four years in college premedical study, four years in
medical school, at least one year of internship, and possibly a year’s
medical residency, a doctor can become a general practitioner. If he
wishes to specialize, his internship may last for two years, and his
residency period from three to four years. It is this latter, longer
path that leads to a career in nuclear medicine and radiology, as well
as to more familiar specialization, such as surgery, pathology,
obstetrics, or pediatrics.

Veterinary Science

Also important in the field of nuclear medicine is the veterinary

A veterinarian spends from two to four years in undergraduate study
and four years in veterinary school before receiving a Doctor of
Veterinary Medicine degree that permits him to practice animal
medicine. Then, if he wishes to enter nuclear veterinary medicine,
veterinary pathology, or some other specialty, he undergoes additional
training that is comparable to that of the physician who specializes.

Scientific Writing

Valuable in all areas of science and engineering is the technical

Several years ago the typical technical writer or editor had a
background of journalism or English grammar and some undergraduate
study of one or more of the sciences. Editorial ability still depends
largely on ability to handle the English language, but more and more
frequently today the successful technical writer or editor has a
bachelor’s degree in one of the sciences. Sometimes he has a master’s
degree, and occasionally he holds a doctor’s degree.

Supporting Fields

No scientific organization can function if it is manned only by
scientists. Supporting and assisting personnel are essential to the
scientific team, and training is widely available for the
nonscientist who wants to work in a scientific installation.

[Illustration: Atomic energy, like fire, is not dangerous when it is
under the control of people who know how to use it. Special
instruments and protective clothing are used by trained technicians
who are responsible for radiation control.]

A nurse is a professional medical assistant. She can be certified as a
registered nurse in three years, or she can earn both an RN and a
bachelor’s degree in four to five years. Especially if she enters the
field of nuclear medicine or if she is associated with a physician or
organization engaged in the clinical use of radiation and
radioisotopes, she will need a background in physics in addition to
her study of chemistry and the life sciences.

Many colleges and universities offer two-year programs that lead to a
certificate qualifying a student as a laboratory aide. The laboratory
aide, or assistant, performs assigned duties under close supervision.
He does not conduct actual research, but he supplies the scientist
with an extra pair of hands.

Scientific organizations also need administrators, librarians,
translators, personnel directors, glassblowers, instrument repairmen,
accountants, and a host of other skilled individuals to keep the team
running smoothly. Such positions may be filled by persons with very
limited scientific backgrounds. But the advantage--for employment and
for advancement--is on the side of the secretary, or purchasing agent,
or bookkeeper who has made an effort to become familiar with basic
scientific principles and terminology. Nonscientists with scientific
background are sufficiently rare to make them unusually valuable
assets to scientific organizations.

Work of the Atomic Scientist

After he completes his formal education, the scientist sets about to
investigate the world, for that’s what science is all about. The
methods he uses to carry out his investigations depend on his
particular field. It is impossible to outline what an individual
scientist does because he may do any of a thousand things in any of a
thousand ways. He may be concerned with nuclear energy almost totally,
or he may be concerned with it only slightly.

It is possible, however, to sketch examples of some of the activities
undertaken by various members of the scientific community.

Most people are familiar with the broad academic breakdown of the
sciences into physics, chemistry, biology, geology, engineering, and
mathematics. It is therefore convenient to examine the activities of
scientific personnel in each of these areas, as well as medicine, with
emphasis on the nuclear energy aspects of each.


The physicist is dedicated to investigating the laws that govern the
universe. He explores gravity, motion, mass, energy, and the myriad
interrelated ways that the world is constructed to gain an
understanding of his physical surroundings.

[Illustration: The very tiny world of the atom is invaded by very
large tools such as particle accelerators, sometimes called “atom

A nuclear physicist concentrates his investigations on the atom. The
subject of his research is, of course, incredibly tiny, and therefore
invisible to him, but he studies the atom by finding out how it
behaves when certain things are done to it.

To accomplish this, the nuclear physicist centers his day-to-day
activities around equipment such as particle accelerators and nuclear
reactors, which he uses to shoot nuclear particles into materials.
What happens in these and many other processes provides him with
information on the nature and behavior of atomic energy.

Within the framework of his interest, the practicing nuclear physicist
may conduct basic or theoretical research to add to the body of
scientific knowledge. He may design equipment to carry out new types
of research. He may apply the principles of his science to improving
the standard of living, as he did by developing the nuclear-power
plants. He may work to improve nuclear weapons, to aid space travel,
or to devise nuclear medical instrumentation for use by physicians. He
has a place in one of the countless efforts that involve nuclear
reactions and radioactivity.


The chemist studies the composition of substances.

For centuries man has known that various combinations and
recombinations of substances produce other materials with different
properties, and it is the chemist who combines and recombines.

A nuclear chemist, or radiochemist, specializes just as his name
implies. He studies the effects of radiation on chemical substances,
notes how chemical reactions are altered by the introduction of
radioactivity, and analyzes the nature of nuclear energy materials and

When an experiment or a scientific application requires a purified
compound, the chemist goes to work. When a substance is to be altered
so that it takes on a different form, the chemist takes over. He
develops better fuels for automobiles and space craft, better fibers
for shirts and parachutes, better plastics for kitchens and


Biology deals with the structure and behavior of plants and animals:
the botanist studies plants, the zoologist studies animals, and they
both can use radioactivity widely in their research.

Radiation changes the pattern of plant behavior, and many botanists
are vitally interested in the effect of various types of radiation on
seeds and plant growth. Radiation can produce mutations, or basic
changes, in growing things; thus, by selective breeding of desirable
changes, it is possible to improve crops. Progress here is slow. Many
millions of possibilities exist in the relations among the variety of
plants, type and intensity of radiation, random chance, and other
growing conditions, but already several new plant breeds have emerged,
and other crops are bound to follow.

In addition to altering plants directly by radiation, the botanist can
improve plants indirectly by using radiation: he can add radioactivity
to fertilizer and evaluate the efficiency of its uptake by the plant
to determine the most effective fertilizer for a particular soil or
crop. The many, and sometimes seemingly strange, effects of
radioactivity on plants and growing conditions provide a wide and
fascinating field for the botanist.

As most people know, radiation also affects animal tissue. The
zoologist wants to know how and why this is true and how varying
conditions alter animal reactions to radiation. The research of the
animal physiologist is basic to later medical applications of
radiation to human beings. The veterinary scientist has the grave
responsibility of testing radioisotopes, radiation drugs, chemicals,
surgical procedures, and various combinations of these in animals to
determine which can be used to diagnose or cure disease in man. He
passes his findings on to the physician for further research only
after he has made every possible test and evaluation. Sometimes he
works with chemists, nutritionists, bacteriologists, and other
scientists. What happens to animals could happen to human beings, and
that is why physiologists watch carefully the animals that eat
radioactive foods and study the offspring of animals that have been
exposed to radioactivity.

[Illustration: Animal studies using radioactive materials give
important information concerning physiology, both animal and human.]


A main interest of the geologist is the history of the earth and its
ever-changing life, especially as revealed in fossil formations and
deposits under the soil.

The geologist has a vital place in the field of atomic energy since he
helps provide the raw materials for nuclear processes. The atomic age
has made radioactive materials essential to life, and the geologist
must locate valuable deposits, determine their extent, analyze their
purity, and plan their extraction.


The engineer is the how-to-do-it man. This technical man of action
comes in many varieties--mechanical, electrical, metallurgical,
ceramic, industrial, civil, instrument, and chemical, to name a few.

In the field of nuclear energy, the mechanical engineer shoulders the
responsibility for designing, supervising construction, and guiding
the functions of the giant accelerators, nuclear reactors,
atomic-propulsion plants, space-ship engines, and other mechanical
equipment that must be constantly devised, improved, constructed, and

The electrical engineer devises the intricate circuits that keep the
vast equipment working smoothly, works out complex controls for
instrumentations, eliminates malfunctions, and formulates electrical
processes for new installations and devices.

Metallurgical and ceramic engineers test and evaluate the strength,
durability, and other characteristics of materials to be used in the
fabrication of equipment, and they produce new materials for specific
jobs. For instance, a metallurgical engineer might produce a
space-ship shell that meets the requirements of (1) minimum weight,
(2) maximum shielding from radiation, and (3) high strength. He may
analyze various materials for use in atomic reactors, nuclear
submarines, or medical treatment rooms where radioactivity is used.
The ceramic engineer tackles similar problems, working with ceramic
products rather than metals.

The industrial engineer is concerned with the efficient use of
machines, materials, and men in production.

The civil engineer takes the plans of the atomic plant and designs
buildings and facilities for particular processes.

The instrument engineer examines a job to be done and then designs the
instrumentation to do it. He must understand what happens when his
instrumentation is integrated into an entire system of production and
control. For instance, the engineer who develops an instrument to be
used in a gaseous-diffusion plant for the separation of uranium
isotopes must understand the entire process of uranium separation.

The chemical engineer works closely with the chemist. If the latter
develops a new plastic, the engineer decides whether to put it into
large-scale production and, if so, how.


The mathematician deals with numbers and their relations to one
another. Progressing from the 2-plus-2 stage into higher mathematics,
this science is essential to all the others--from the simple task of
counting test tubes in a cabinet to an incredibly complex mathematical

The mathematician speaks the language of all sciences using his
special tool. Without him modern technology would not exist because
mathematics interprets and explains all other sciences.

However, when mathematics becomes too complex, the mathematician puts
aside his pencil and paper and turns to an electronic computer. Since
computers can carry out mathematical calculations from 100 to
1,000,000 times as fast as a human being, they are necessary today and
will be essential tomorrow.

[Illustration: The much-publicized electronic computers are vital in
modern science, but they can’t add two and two without trained
personnel to operate them.]

A computer, however, doesn’t replace the mathematician any more than
an adding machine replaces an accountant. The mathematician must help
to design the computer, understand what material to store in its
memory banks, know how to feed problems into it, and be able to read
the results that come out.


The medical profession is dedicated to repairing and healing the human
body. Although many mysteries still surround medicine, doctors are
trying to solve these mysteries of the body through research.

A medical scientist may decide to specialize exclusively in the use of
radioactive materials. If so, he is called a radiologist and is an
expert in the use of radiation beams, injection of radioisotopes, and
implantation of radioactivity into the body, as well as in the use of
the more familiar radium and X-ray devices.

The practicing physician also, after receiving special training and
licensing, may use radiation and radioisotopes as another tool in his
little black bag. For instance, a suspected thyroid disorder can be
diagnosed by following the behavior of a small, harmless dose of
radioactive iodine in the patient. A tumor may be brought under
control with the use of a strong beam of radiation directed at the
diseased tissue.

Behind the physician stand teams of medical research scientists
testing the effects of radiation on tissues and cultures and serums in
the laboratory. They strive to increase knowledge of the medical
benefits of atomic energy.

Nurses in nuclear medicine understand how to handle radioactivity.
Pharmacists who enter the field prepare radioactive pharmaceuticals
for clinical uses.

Related Fields

It is convenient to discuss scientific activity in the general
categories of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, engineering,
mathematics, and medicine, but strict lines are not actually drawn
around these areas.

There are in the United States today about 2000 individuals who are
engaged in a profession that did not even exist twenty years ago:
these are the health physicists, who are neither medical men nor
physicists. They have backgrounds in physics, true, and they combine
this training with training in physiology, botany, chemistry,
mathematics, and instrumentation.

It is the duty of the health physicist to evaluate and control any
potential hazard in the use of nuclear energy. The health physicist
understands the effects of radiation on human tissues and plants. He
keeps a constant check on radiation levels in installations where
radioactivity is used; he foresees emergencies that might arise; he
eliminates unsafe practices; and he assures that personnel working in
nuclear energy fields are free from related hazards. The health
physicist is a key figure in making the nuclear energy industry one of
the safest in the world.

Another profession that spans the sciences is that of the technical
writer or editor. In a laboratory he translates the notebooks of the
scientist into reports. In an editorial office he edits manuscripts
for publication. On a newspaper staff he translates scientific
findings into articles for the public.

It is difficult, undesirable, and usually impossible, for a scientist
to confine himself to his own field because all sciences affect one
another. A chemist may use the tools of the physicist and become a
physical chemist; a physicist may go in the other direction and become
a chemical physicist. It is not uncommon for a chemical engineer to
find himself doing the work of an instrument engineer, or the
mechanical engineer to find himself doing the work of an electrical
engineer, or both of them doing the work of a nuclear engineer.

The physicist, the chemist, the physician, and the engineer who once
thought that outer space was the exclusive domain of the astronomer
now find themselves solving reentry problems for missiles, stirring up
rocket fuels, testing the effect of weightlessness on the body, and
examining diagrams for space craft. Perhaps the botanist who today is
totally concerned with the flora of earth will tomorrow find himself
fingering a bit of fungus from Mars.

Location of the Atomic Scientist

In the rapidly changing world, each year finds the scientist
increasingly important. He is needed to maintain and improve
fast-changing technology, to combat disease, to develop natural and
man-made resources, to improve food sources and production, and, in
general, to work for the betterment of mankind.

The graduate scientist and the engineer will find jobs waiting and
will be able to choose, to some extent, the sort of work they wish to
do and where they wish to do it.

It is impossible to list all types of organizations open to science
graduates, but it is relatively simple to divide them into general

The United States Government

Scientists are needed in federal agencies such as the National Science
Foundation, the National Bureau of Standards, the Atomic Energy
Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the
Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health, and the
Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Positions in
these and other federal organizations are open in program
administration, basic research, development, and applied research.
Numerous positions exist at AEC laboratories that operate under
contract--Ames, Argonne, Berkeley, Bettis, Brookhaven, Hanford,
Knolls, Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Sandia, and Savannah River,
as well as at the Health and Safety Laboratory in New York City.

Private Industry

Unlimited opportunities are found in private industry. Most industries
have extensive research and development programs, as well as
production activities. In addition to the industries that are engaged
primarily in the design and fabrication of nuclear and electronic
equipment, hundreds of industries use radioisotopes and radiation in
tracing, testing, development, inspection, and quality control.

Opportunities are open to the scientist who wishes to work for
himself. He may organize his own company to provide self-employment or
he may serve as a private consultant.

Educational Organizations

With the growing demand for scientists comes an increasing need for
science teachers--good science teachers--from the elementary through
the university graduate-school level. The scientist who enters the
teaching profession need not feel that he turns his back on a research
career. Thousands of significant investigations and discoveries are
made at colleges and universities where science faculty members
combine teaching with research.

Although the basic salary scale for the science teacher is not
normally as high as that of the industrial scientist, this situation
is improving. Moreover, many college faculty members augment their
salaries and keep in touch with new developments by acting as
part-time consultants to industry and government. A scientific
teaching career offers certain advantages: frequently the professor
enjoys greater freedom than the industrial scientist in budgeting time
and channeling interests, and teachers also experience the
satisfaction of developing human minds.


Hospitals and medical research institutions must have highly competent
scientific staffs. Besides physicians they need chemists, biochemists,
biologists, bacteriologists, and often physicists and veterinarians.

State and Local Governments

Scientists hold important posts in state and local government ranging
from the director of a state health department to the chemist in a
police laboratory to the radiation safety advisor on a civil-defense
commission. As the states assume more and more responsibility for
licensing and regulating nuclear and other scientific development, the
need for state-employed scientific staff members will grow.

Other Organizations

Scientists are needed also in private research foundations,
pharmaceutical and drug houses, international organizations, museums,
observatories, weather stations, and thousands of other installations.

Professional Satisfaction

Members of the scientific community are generally happy in their work.
A scientist may experience temporary discontent with a particular job,
or budget restriction, or management practice, or coworkers, but
seldom does he regret being a scientist. He is much more likely to
regret that he didn’t study even more science.

Moreover, scientific salaries generally range from above average to
excellent, opportunities for advancement are good, and the profession
usually enjoys high community respect.

Atomic energy is revolutionizing life today, and future scientific
revolutions are beyond imagination. But an atom does not have a brain;
it must be manipulated by people. The men and women who explore the
world of the atom invariably find that they are exploring a world more
exciting than the world in the dreams of Marco Polo or Columbus.



    _American Foundations and Their Fields._ By Wilmer Shields Rich.
    7th edition, 1955, 744 pages. American Foundations Information
    Service, 527 Madison Avenue, New York 3, New York. $35.00.

     _Blue Book of Awards._ Edited by Herbert Brook. 1956, 186
     pages. Marquis--Who’s Who, 210 East Ohio Street, Chicago 11,
     Illinois. $8.00.

     _College Program in Nuclear Engineering._ 1956, 106 pages,
     American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 25 West 45 Street,
     New York 36, New York.

     _Credit for College; Student Loan Funds in the United Stales._
     By W. W. Hill. 1959, 37 pages. The College Life Insurance
     Company of America, Indianapolis, Indiana.

     _Education Programs and Facilities in Nuclear Science and
     Engineering._ 1960, 76 pages. Fellowship Office, Oak Ridge
     Institute of Nuclear Studies, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Free.

     _Financial Aid for College Students: Undergraduate._ By Theresa
     Birch Wilkins. 1957, 232 pages. United States Government
     Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. $1.00.

     _How to Finance a College Education._ 1960, 10 pages. Funds for
     Education Inc., 319 Lincoln Street, Manchester, New Hampshire.

     _How to Look for Scholarships._ By J. L. Angel. 2nd edition.
     1960, 26 pages. World Trade Academy Press, 50 East 42nd Street,
     New York 17, New York. $1.25.

     _Information on Science Scholarships and Student Loans._
     National Science Foundation. 1960, 9 pages. United States
     Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. $0.15.

     _Lovejoy-Jones College Scholarship Guide._ By Clarence E.
     Lovejoy and Theodore S. Jones. 1957, 123 pages. Simon and
     Schuster, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York 20, New York. $1.95

     _National Register of Scholarships and Fellowships._ By Juvenal
     L. Angel. Volume I: Scholarships and Loans, 329 pages. Volume
     II: Fellowships and Grants, 232 pages. World Trade Academy
     Press, 50 East 42nd Street, New York 17, New York.

     _National Science Foundation Annual Report._ Published
     annually. United States Government Printing Office, Washington
     25, D. C. $1.00.

     _Need Financial Aid for College?_ 5 pages. Engineers Council
     for Professional Development, 29 West 59th Street, New York 18,
     New York. $0.03.

     _Need a Lift._ 80 pages. American Legion, P. O. Box 1055,
     Indianapolis 6, Indiana. $0.15.

     _Scholarships and Fellowships Available at Institutions of
     Higher Education._ By Theresa Birch Wilkins. 1951, 248 pages.
     United States Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.

     _You Can Win a Scholarship._ 1958, 429 pages. By S. C.
     Brownstein, M. Weiner, and S. H. Kaplan. Barron’s Educational
     Series, Inc., 343 Great Neck Road, Great Neck, New York. $2.98.


    _Agricultural Research Workers._ 1961, 7 pages. Careers, Box
    522, Largo, Florida. $0.25.

     _Astronomer._ By Gibson Reaves (Chronicle Occupational Briefs
     210). 1961, 4 pages. Chronicle Guidance Publications, Moravia,
     New York. $0.35.

     _Biochemist._ 1960, 8 pages. Careers, Box 522, Largo, Florida.

     _Biological Scientists._ Revised edition, 1959, 4 pages.
     Science Research Associates, 259 East Erie Street, Chicago 11,
     Illinois. $0.45.

     _Can I be a Scientist or Engineer? (Let’s Find Out)._ Revised
     edition, 1960, 24 pages. General Motors Corporation Public
     Relations Staff, 3044 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit 2,
     Michigan. Single copy free.

     _Careers and Opportunities in Chemistry._ By Philip Pollack.
     1960, 147 pages. E. P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 300 Park
     Avenue South, New York 10, New York. $3.50.

     _Careers for Chemical Engineers._ By Juvenal L. Angel. 1960, 30
     pages. World Trade Academy Press, 50 East 42nd Street, New York
     17. New York. $1.25.

     _Careers for the Physicist._ 1957, 36 pages. Careers
     Incorporated, 15 West 45th Street, New York 36, New York,

     _Careers for Women in the Physical Sciences._ 1959, 77 pages.
     United States Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.

     _Careers in Animal Biology._ By H. L. Hamilton. 16 pages.
     American Society of Zoologists, Dr. G. B. Moment, Secretary,
     Goucher College, Baltimore 4, Maryland. $0.25.

     _Careers in Atomic Energy._ By Walter J. Greenleaf (United
     States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Pamphlet
     No. 119). 1957, 36 pages. United States Government Printing
     Office, Washington 25, D. C. $0.25.

     _Careers in Biochemistry._ By Juvenal L. Angel. 1958, 26 pages.
     World Trade Academy Press, 50 East 42nd Street, New York 17,
     New York. $1.25.

     _Careers in Fishery Science._ (Chronicle Occupational Briefs
     190). 1960, 4 pages. Chronicle Guidance Publications, Moravia,
     New York. $0.35.

     _Careers in Mathematics._ 1961, 28 pages. National Council of
     Teachers of Mathematics, 1201 16th Street, Washington 6. D. C.

     _Careers in Medicine._ 2nd edition, 1960, 26 pages. By Juvenal
     L. Angel. World Trade Academy Press, 50 East 42nd Street, New
     York 17, New York. $1.25.

     _Careers in Science Teaching._ 1959, 17 pages. National Science
     Teachers Association, 1201 16th Street, N.W., Washington 6, D.
     C. Single copy free; quantity orders $0.10 each.

     _Careers in the Atomic Energy Industry._ By Harold L. Walker.
     1958, 32 pages. Bellman Publishing Company, Cambridge 38,
     Massachusetts. $1.00.

     _Careers in the Nuclear Field._ By Juvenal L. Angel. 1958, 26
     pages. World Trade Academy Press, Inc., 50 East 42nd Street,
     New York 17, New York. $1.25.

     _Careers in the Scientific Fields._ By Juvenal L. Angel. 1959,
     46 pages. World Trade Academy Press, 50 East 42nd Street, New
     York 17, New York. $1.25.

     _College Bound: Planning For College And Careers._ By S. C.
     Brownstein. 1958, 226 pages. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.,
     343 Great Neck Road, Great Neck, New York. $1.98.

     _The Cost of Four Years of College._ 1959, 19 pages. Career
     Information Service, New York Life Insurance Company, Box 51,
     Madison Square Station, New York 10, New York. $0.25.

     _Guide to Career Information._ By Career Information Service,
     New York Life Insurance Company. 1957, 203 pages. Harper and
     Brothers, 49 East 33rd Street, New York 16, New York. $3.00.

     _Health Physicist._ 1959, 8 pages. Careers, Box 522, Largo,
     Florida. $0.25.

     _Health Physicist._ (Chronicle Occupational Briefs 185). 1959,
     4 pages. Chronicle Guidance Publications, Moravia, New York.

     _How To Be Accepted By The College Of Your Choice._ By B. Fine.
     1960, 291 pages. Channel Press, Inc., 159 Northern Boulevard,
     Great Neck, New York. $2.95.

     _Nuclear Scientists._ (Chronicle Occupational Briefs No. 203).
     1960, 4 pages. Science Research Associates, 259 East Erie
     Street, Chicago 11, Illinois. $0.45.

     _Oceanographer._ (Chronicle Occupational Briefs 200). 1960, 4
     pages. Chronicle Guidance Publications, Moravia, New York.

     _Science Futures for Girls._ 1959, 7 pages. United States
     Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.

     _Should You Be an Atomic Scientist?_ By Lawrence R. Hafstad.
     1957, 10 pages. New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison
     Avenue, New York 10, New York. Free.

     _Should You Be a Chemist?_ By Dr. Irving Langmuir. 1957, 6
     pages. New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New
     York 10, New York. Free.

     _Sources of Information on Careers in the Scientific Fields._
     1959, 11 pages. Manufacturing Chemists’ Association, Inc., 1825
     Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington 8, D. C. 1-6 copies free;
     additional copies $0.05 each.

     _Veterinarians._ 1961, 4 pages. Science Research Associates,
     259 East Erie Street, Chicago 11, Illinois. $0.45.

     _You and Your Career._ 1960, 30 pages. Collier’s Encyclopedia,
     640 Fifth Avenue, New York 19, New York. $0.50.

     _Your Future in Nuclear Energy Fields._ By William E. Thompson,
     Jr. 1961, 160 pages. Richards Rosen Press, 13 East 22nd Street,
     New York 10, New York.

This booklet is one of the “Understanding the Atom” Series. Comments
are invited on this booklet and others in the series; please send them
to the Division of Technical Information, U. S. Atomic Energy
Commission, Washington, D. C. 20545.

Published as part of the AEC’s educational assistance program, the
series includes these titles:

    _Animals in Atomic Research_
    _Atomic Fuel_
    _Atomic Power Safety_
    _Atoms at the Science Fair_
    _Atoms in Agriculture_
    _Atoms, Nature, and Man_
    _Books on Atomic Energy for Adults and Children_
    _Careers in Atomic Energy_
    _Controlled Nuclear Fusion_
    _Cryogenics, The Uncommon Cold_
    _Direct Conversion of Energy_
    _Fallout From Nuclear Tests_
    _Food Preservation by Irradiation_
    _Genetic Effects of Radiation_
    _Index to the UAS Series_
    _Microstructure of Matter_
    _Neutron Activation Analysis_
    _Nondestructive Testing_
    _Nuclear Clocks_
    _Nuclear Energy for Desalting_
    _Nuclear Power and Merchant Shipping_
    _Nuclear Power Plants_
    _Nuclear Propulsion for Space_
    _Nuclear Reactors_
    _Nuclear Terms, A Brief Glossary_
    _Our Atomic World_
    _Power from Radioisotopes_
    _Power Reactors in Small Packages_
    _Radioactive Wastes_
    _Radioisotopes and Life Processes_
    _Radioisotopes in Industry_
    _Radioisotopes in Medicine_
    _Rare Earths_
    _Research Reactors_
    _SNAP, Nuclear Space Reactors_
    _Sources of Nuclear Fuel_
    _Space Radiation_
    _Synthetic Transuranium Elements_
    _The Atom and the Ocean_
    _The Chemistry of the Noble Gases_
    _The Elusive Neutrino_
    _The First Reactor_
    _The Natural Radiation Environment_
    _Whole Body Counters_
    _Your Body and Radiation_

A single copy of any one booklet, or of no more than three different
booklets, may be obtained free by writing to:

    USAEC, P. O. BOX 62, OAK RIDGE, TENNESSEE      37830

Complete sets of the series are available to school and public
librarians, and to teachers who can make them available for reference
or for use by groups. Requests should be made on school or library
letterheads and indicate the proposed use.

Students and teachers who need other material on specific aspects of
nuclear science, or references to other reading material, may also
write to the Oak Ridge address. Requests should state the topic of
interest exactly, and the use intended.

In all requests, include “Zip Code” in return address.

Printed in the United States of America

USAEC Division of Technical Information Extension, Oak Ridge,

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