[Physics FAQ] -
Last updated by DK 2017.
Original by Philip Gibbs June 1996.
Useful Physics Resources on the Web
The world wide web is a rich source of information about physics. The Physics FAQ is not the place to put
together a complete list of them so I will concentrate on databases that are packed with useful content such as
physics news. (Editor's note: many of the original links that this page referred to no longer exist, but I have
updated the ones that are there.)
[Please don't ask us to add a link to your site from here.]
- American Institute of Physics
- The AIP publishes and archives a number of informative newsletters. This is a good place to look for
brief reports on recent discoveries.
- High-Energy Physics Literature Database
- This is a good site to search for the latest in literature on high-energy physics, as well as more general
- The American Physical Society
- They publish some of the most important Physics Journals such as Physical Review. On-line
access to those is restricted but the News Room is a
- The Institute of Physics
- Another journal publisher with a News section.
- Los Alamos E-print Archive
- For better or worse, these archives are one of the primary means of communicating new papers in the fastest
moving physics disciplines. Unfortunately, the lack of real competition for archives in this e-print area is
perhaps what has given the archive's maintainers a very exclusive attitude that probably prevents much good
research from being published at arxiv.
- Particle Data Group
- This is where you will find the Review of Particle Physics containing values for all manner of physical
constants. They have also put together an educational feature
called The Particle Adventure.
- John Baez's Papers
- Useful information on developments in physics including the archive
of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics. John has
also put together a tutorial on General Relativity.
- National Institute of Standards and Technology
- Another site with convenient tables of physical
- A collection of free software for High Energy Physics.
- The Laws List
- An alphabetically ordered list of laws and principles of physics by Erik Max Francis.
- Eric Weisstein's World of Physics
- Another alphabetical list of physics definitions and equations by Eric Weisstein.
- MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
- This is an extensive archive of historical information which has good coverage of physicists and astronomers
as well as mathematicians. Go straight to the
search page and enter the name of
your favourite physicist or topic.
If you still have not found what you are looking for, try the usual search engines such as
Duck Duck Go,
Start Page, or
It is also a good idea to search old usenet posts using Google
Don't believe too quickly the top-voted entries on physics-discussion sites such as "Physics Stack Exchange", or
the conversations on "Physics Forums". The answers given on these sites are supplied by members who are often
just trying to raise their "site star" rating, and so these answers tend to be what is naively believable rather
that what is correct but possibly difficult. Also, a form of voting on such sites gives rise to an abuse of
power, such that long-time members can vote down good answers, or can even close down entire conversations.
Another site not to take too seriously is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is probably fine if you want to know the
population of Bolivia, but you should take it with more than a pinch of salt when looking to learn physics.
The reasons are several:
- Wikipedia's entries are generally a reflection not of the most authoritative opinion, but rather the opinion
of the last man standing, after all the rest have given up on editing a page whose corrections keep getting
overturned by louder-but-unauthoritative voices.
- Because a typical entry has several authors, there is generally no oversight into whether the notation used
is self consistent throughout the entire entry. Each contributor will swear by their own contribution's
notation because they saw it in a book, but they don't always realise that different books have different
notations and conventions that conflict when thrown together onto one page.
- Wikipedia entries are not peer reviewed. They are reviewed by Wikipedia contributors, but these
contributors are not necessarily experts in the subject. Real experts are seldom bothered to spend their
time competing with non-experts over who can last the longest in a Wikipedia battle, and so tend not to
- Wikipedia has done a good job in redefining knowledge to be that which is most commonly believed by the
majority rather than that which is agreed upon by specialists or that which is correct.
- Wikipedia contributors often have an obsession with listing or labelling irrelevant and spurious concepts,
that serves only to obfuscate what should be a simple subject.
- Wikipedia redefines fads as canon. A good example is its favouring of the most abstruse and
pretentious mathematics to be included in pages on physics where that maths is simply not relevant or not even
correct. Mathematical obscurity is a modern fad, and the more abstruse you can make a Wikipedia page on
physics, the more likely it will be accepted by other contributors, who simply get cowed into accepting the new
contribution. (A non-physics example of this dictatorial redefinition of what is correct is Wikipedia's
push for to replace the date appellation "BC/AD" with the ludicrous "BCE/CE". Another non-physics example
is Wikipedia's favouring of re-spellings of place names according to what is currently popular, and its obsessive
use of macrons, such as in the Maori language—a very modern fad that has become a real obsession for
certain writers of that language.
- Wikipedia also redefines extreme political correctness as the norm. That tends not to affect its pages on
physics, but the problem is always potentially present.