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What Does a Chemical Scientist Do?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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A chemical scientist is a scientist who works in fields such as chemistry or material sciences. There are many different professions that fall into the category of "chemical science," and the nature of the different jobs can vary substantially. In some cases, a chemical scientist may work in academia and split his time between conducting laboratory research and instructing students in chemistry, physics, and other physical sciences. Others may choose to work in some industry that makes use of chemistry, such as industrial cleaners, fuel, or electronics. Still others apply their knowledge of chemical science to consulting or business-related work.

In many cases, a chemical scientist conducts laboratory research at universities, for government agencies, or for companies that require some chemical science work. Such work tends to involve conducting experiments, collecting data, and using the collected data to refine experiments or to form theories about various chemical behaviors. Some laboratory work is aimed at synthesizing substances with various specific chemical properties or at understanding and controlling various important chemical reactions.

A chemical scientist may also work in a biomedical laboratory. A wide range of chemical processes are absolutely essential to the proper functioning of the human body. Many medical processes cannot be understood without the help of some knowledge of chemistry, which chemical scientists can provide.

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Industrial work is also a valid and common option for a chemical scientist to pursue. In some cases, this may involve laboratory research, but there are many other important jobs for an industrial chemical scientist to do. Production oversight and quality assurance, for instance, are very important roles for chemical scientists in industrial settings. Chemical scientists are also responsible for preparing and testing the large-scale chemical processes that are used for the industrial productions of chemicals. They must generally prepare instructions that can be easily and safely followed by individuals with less chemical training and experience.

Knowledge and experience in chemical science can open up a range of potentially profitable business opportunities. A chemical scientist who develops a new and useful chemical process may be able to build a business based on it. Experienced chemical scientists often go into consulting work, as such work can offer greater freedom and, potentially, greater pay than traditional laboratory or industrial chemistry work. This may be ideal for those who, despite possessing a great deal of chemical knowledge, do not particularly enjoy the work environments and lifestyles offered by academia, laboratories, or industrial chemical work.

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