Acoustical Physicist

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Job Summary

Acoustical Physics is the science of sound - Physicists working in this area are interested in the properties and features of sound and how it behaves in different environments. This information is used in various diverse areas such as medical diagnosis, structural engineering and the location of fish in the ocean.

Entrance Requirements

Those working in this field usually complete post-graduate qualifications at least at a Masters level however entry-level positions as a laboratory technician or research assistant are possible with a Bachelor qualification.


As areas involving acoustics are so diverse Acoustical Physicists often specialise in one particular area such as:

  • Architectural - the consideration of quality of sound in building design
  • Engineering - the development and running of equipment for transduction and the measurement of sound (used in medicine, seismic surveying, recording and producing music)
  • Physical acoustics - the behaviour of sound in waves in different substances
  • Speech and hearing - study of the brain and ear, development of hearing aids etc.
  • Underwater acoustics - used for underwater mapping, detection of fish for agriculture and in defence
  • Bio and medical acoustics - the interaction of sound waves with the body, this may involve study of the effects of ultrasound diagnosis and acoustic signal production in animals
  • Structural and vibration - developing solutions to vibration problems in bridges etc.

Principal Employment Sectors and Industry

Given the wide range of areas in which Acoustical Physicists can work, employers include public and private research organisations, engineering companies, medical equipment manufacturers, specialised consulting firms, oil and gas and mining companies, audio companies, public and private defence organisations etc.

Related Areas of Study