Unix has been used for advanced computer science work since its inception. Cray computers run a version of Unix. Almost all workstations, computer design tools, engineering systems, and so forth have run Unix variants for decades. (There is currently a trend toward Windows NT for workstations, but this trend is being resisted by the technical people who have to actually use these systems.)
The recent resurgence of open-source software (which is how most software was written for a long time) has breathed new life into the Unix world, and also made Unix available to people who have not had access to this powerful operating system until now.