questionnaire. The categories included in setting up the mailing list were purposely kept broad to ensure good coverage of the field, and it was expected that the list would include many non-AMO scientists who might not respond at all. The 1990 APS employment survey reported 2,725 doctoral scientists actively employed in AMO physics in 1989, and that this number had remained essentially constant for several years. The panel's survey indicates that ~41% of AMO scientists hold degrees in physics, suggesting that there are about 6,000 to 7,000 AMO doctoral scientists active today. The completed questionnaires received therefore appear to represent a sampling of the opinions of approximately one-half of practicing AMO scientists.

Education And Employment Profile

As expected, given the selection criteria applied at the time of mailing, the majority of respondents (93%) had a PhD degree. Forty-six percent indicated that they were employed in universities/colleges, 30% in industry, and 18% in federally funded research and development (R&D) laboratories or government (to be termed simply government). Sixteen percent described their R&D activities as principally atomic, 46% as principally molecular, and 38% as principally optical. Approximately equal numbers of respondents characterized their work as being principally basic or principally applied. Eighty percent described their R&D activities as principally experimental. Of the 20% whose activities were principally theoretical, 76% considered their work computationally intensive.

The year that respondents received their highest degree is shown in Figure D.1, broken down by employment sector and principal area of research. The overall distributions reflect the effects of retirement and illustrate disproportionate growth in optical science over the past 30 years. A similar growth in industrial employment is also noted. The distribution of specialties in which respondents working in industry, government, and universities received their highest degrees is shown in Figure D.2. A total of 41% of the respondents received their highest degree in some area of physics, 36% in chemistry, and 23% in engineering or some other field. Respondents with degrees in optical physics, applied physics, electrical engineering, and materials science had the highest probability of being employed in industry. The places in which respondents work is shown in Figure D.3a, broken down by principal area of research. The difference in emphasis between work conducted in industry and in universities is clearly illustrated. In industry the focus is on optical science; in universities molecular science is dominant.

The distribution of times for which respondents have been employed by their present employer is presented in Figure D.3b. It is interesting to note that mobility appears highest in the industrial sector and that although some 38% of respondents have changed employers in the past 5 years, only ~18% received their highest degree in this interval.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement