Standards, molecules and formulas
Chemists analyse, research and develop synthetic molecules which are used to formulate products such as medicines, fragrances, detergents, materials, synthetic fibres and food products, to name but a few. Their job is to bring researchers' ideas to life in the laboratory. They apply the results of their research to industrial projects, be they for a highly specialised application or for creating everyday products.
Experimental chemists draft operating procedures and define a plan of successive reactions. They are well versed in complying with safety rules and relevant laws. In particular, they determine the measures that must be taken to protect the environment. They also define the optimum conditions for production from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. The job of a chemist covers all the stages of product creation, from research and development to determining the product's formulation and on to the production stage itself, including quality control checks.
In addition to the traditional tools – such as test tubes, pipettes and distillers – chemists are increasingly also required to work with sophisticated equipment, especially in industrial sectors. They handle specific machines and computerised devices on a daily basis. Whatever the processes being tested, chemists are responsible for maintaining the equipment and tracking this maintenance work.
Job opportunities for chemists exist in an incredibly diverse range of fields, such as the food industry, cosmetics, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, metalworking, plastics processing, environmental science and the aviation industry, and many more. Chemists work in multi-disciplinary teams with specialists in other fields, such as doctors, biologists, agronomists and engineers. They may also work in university laboratories, or – more rarely – forensic laboratories. Chemists carry out their work in research laboratories, industrial production facilities and quality departments. Their working hours are regular.
Skills required: enjoys working in a team – scientific rigour – analytical mind – versatile – precise – good sense of responsibility