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Physics and Astronomy: Subject websites

Academic internet gateways

The following gateways have been created by human experts who scour the Internet, evaluating sites for quality and relevance, and arranging the best sites they find in a logical and helpful way.

  • AstroWeb provides a collection of pointers to astronomy related information on the Internet. The database of resource records is maintained by the AstroWeb Consortium which is composed of members of recognised astronomical institutions.
  • Nuclear Energy Handbook - Internet Directory of Nuclear Resources provides annotated links to web sites that are related to various fields of nuclear science and technology, and the IAEA's work. It is maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Online Particle Physics Information is a guide to particle physics resources. It is maintained by staff from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and from the Particle Data Group.
  • Physnet provides a collection of information services for physicists, based on information that is found on websites of physics institutions and university departments that are accepted by the learned societies. It includes PhysDep (links to institutions), PhysDoc (links to documents e.g. preprints and research reports), PhysTopics (selected information resources), and listings of journals that are freely available, conferences, jobs, educational and other resources. PhysNet is under the auspices of the European Physical Society and several national societies.


  • AIP's Inside Science  provides research and policy news, together with feature articles. Maintained by the American Institute of Physics.
  • headline news is maintained by the Institute of Physics. All content on this site is freely available. However, access to certain features requires users to register with the service by providing some basic information about yourself.
  • Physics is a free service from the American Physical Society that  highlights 'exceptional papers' from the Physical Review journals that it publishes. To accomplish this, Physics features expert commentaries written by active researchers who are asked to explain the results to physicists in other subfields. Physics features three kinds of articles: Viewpoints are essays of approximately 1000—1500 words that focus on a single Physical Review paper or PRL letter and put this work into broader context; Trends are concise review articles (3000—4000 words in length) that survey a particular area and look for interesting developments in that field; Synopses (200 words) are staff-written distillations of interesting and important papers each week.
  • Physics Update provides research news. This is a service from Physics Today, which is a publication of the American Institute of Physics.

Atomic and plasma physics

  • Atomic Physics on the Internet and Plasma on the Internet are resource guides that provide directories of relevant Internet resources, and are maintained at the Plasma Laboratory of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. The guides organise resources by categories, including: conferences; databases; software; jobs; preprints; servers by country.

Condensed matter physics

Superconductivity Papers Database includes approximately 100,000 articles from the categories: High Tc; C60 related; Organic Conductors; Non-Oxide Superconductors including the conventional superconductors; Oxide Conductors; Theory. The database is being constructed by AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) and ISTEC (International Superconductivity Technology Center Foundation) in Japan.

High energy physics

Particle physics

  • Particle Data Group is an international collaboration that reviews particle physics and related areas of astrophysics, and compiles and analyzes data on particle properties. The Review of Particle Physics is one of the most cited publications in particle physics over the last decade. This is a UK mirror site maintained at the University of Durham.
  • The Particle Adventure is an educational resource that introduces the theory of fundamental particles and forces, called the Standard Model. It explores the experimental evidence and the reasons physicists want to go beyond this theory. This resource is sponsored by the Particle Data Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
  • Particle Physics UK is for everyone who wants to know more about particle physics, and provides news and content for learning, teaching, research, and industry. This website is supported by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Photon physics

  • offers lasers, optics and photonics resources and news. All content on this site is freely available. However, access to certain features requires users to register with the service by providing some basic information about yourself. Maintained by the Institute of Physics.
  • Laser Adventure is an instructional course at college level that explains the basic physical principles of laser operation, and describes the many types and applications of lasers. It includes a glossary, laser safety information, descriptions of laboratory experiments, interactive Java applets, and a bibliography for further reading. This resource was authored by Rami Arieli, who is a member of the Science Teaching Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Educational resources

  • The Higher Education Academy Physical Sciences Toolkit provides discipline based support for learning and teaching in UK higher education for the physical sciences. It promotes excellence, disseminates good practice, and aims to enhance the quality of the student learning experience.
  • comPADRE creates, hosts, and maintains collections of educational and community resources focused on the needs of specific audiences in physics and astronomy education. The comPADRE collections include: Physical Sciences Resource Center (a web-based databank that provides links to a wide range of teaching and learning resources in the physical sciences); The Quantum Exchange (a repository of educational resources for teachers of quantum physics and modern physics); PER-CENTRAL (a collection of information and resources in physics education research); and (a collection of teaching and learning resources for Undergraduate Introductory Astronomy courses). comPADRE is a partnership of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the American Institute of Physics/Society of Physics Students (AIP/SPS), and the American Physical Society (APS).



Pre-print repositories typically offer the original versions of research articles submitted to journals, and not necessarily the final, peer-reviewed, published versions. Furthermore, repositories may also contain conference reports, theses, notes and other material, including articles that were never published in refereed journals.

  • e-Print archive covers the fields of physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and quantitative biology. Maintained by Cornell University Library.
  • CERN Document Server: Preprints aims to cover the pre-published literature in particle physics and its related technologies. Maintained by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
  • E-print Network provides a gateway to web sites and databases containing e-prints in basic and applied sciences, primarily in physics, but also including other subject areas. Maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI).
  • INSPIRE-HEP database covers high-energy physics related articles, including journal papers, preprints, e-prints, technical reports, conference papers and theses, indexed by the SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) and DESY (Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron) libraries since 1974. SPIRES HEP is a joint project of SLAC, DESY and FNAL (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory) as well as the worldwide HEP community.

Professional organisations

Professional societies can be useful sources of news, membership and careers information, publications, etc.:

Funding bodies typically provide details of available funding and how to apply, links with industry, and educational and training programmes:

University departments and scientific facilities may provide details of ongoing research, lists of publications, course details, staff, and contact information:

  • PhysDep maintains lists of links to physics departments and institutions worldwide; these are organised by continent, country and town. This resource is part of the PhysNet service, which is under the auspices of the European Physical Society (EPS) and several national societies.

Astronomy and astrophysics

  • CDS (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg)is an established astronomical data centre that hosts many important astronomical resources, including:
    • Simbad is an astronomical database providing basic data, cross-identifications, bibliography and measurements for astronomical objects outside the solar system.
    • VizieR provides access to published astronomical catalogues and data tables.
    • Aladin is an interactive software sky atlas allowing the user to visualize digitized astronomical images, superimpose entries from astronomical catalogues or databases, and interactively access related data and information from the Simbad database, the VizieR service and other archives for all known sources in the field.
  • Digitized Sky Survey comprises a set of all-sky photographic surveys in E, V, J, R, and N bands conducted with the Palomar and UK Schmidt telescopes. Images of any part of the sky may be extracted from the DSS, in either FITS or GIF format. Maintained by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).
  • NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) is built around a master list of extragalactic objects for which cross-identifications of names have been established, accurate positions and redshifts entered to the extent possible, and some basic data collected. Bibliographic references relevant to individual objects have been compiled, and abstracts of extragalactic interest are kept on line. Detailed and referenced photometry, position, and redshift data, have been taken from large compilations and from the literature. NED also includes images from 2MASS, from the literature, and from the Digitized Sky Survey. NED's data and references are being continually updated, with revised versions being put on-line every 2-3 months. NED is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is a Digital Library portal for researchers in Astronomy and Physics. The ADS maintains three bibliographic databases containing more than six million records: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and arXiv e-prints. The main body of data in the ADS consists of bibliographic records, which are searchable through query forms, and full-text scans of much of the astronomical literature which can be browsed or searched via a full-text search interface. Integrated in its databases, the ADS provides access and pointers to a wealth of external resources, including electronic articles, data catalogs and archives. This service is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant.
  • US National Virtual Observatory enables access to worldwide data and computing resources, so that astronomical researchers can locate, retrieve, and analyze astronomical data from archives and catalogs worldwide. This resource is funded by the US National Science Foundation, and is part of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance.
  • LEVEL 5: A Knowledge Base on Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology aims to provide a gateway (where copyrights allow) to "original" documents and reviews and/or electronic links to articles of current and lasting interest to cosmologists, particle physicists and extragalactic astronomers. Sponsored by NASA.
  • Astronomy Notes is an educational resource for astronomy, and was created by Nick Strobel (of Bakersfield College, USA) for the introductory astronomy courses he teaches. It covers: a brief overview of astronomy's place in the scientific endeavor, the philosophy of science and the scientific method, astronomy that can be done without a telescope, a history of astronomy and science, Newton's law of gravity and applications to orbits, Einstein's Relativity theories, electromagnetic radiation, telescopes, all the objects of the solar system, solar system formation, determining properties of the stars, the Sun, fusion reactions, stellar structure, stellar evolution, the interstellar medium, the structure of the Milky Way galaxy, extra-galactic astronomy including active galaxies and quasars, cosmology, and extra-terrestrial life. This site also has pages giving angular momentum examples, a quick mathematics review, improving study skills, astronomy tables, and astronomy terms.
  • Radio Astronomy Tutorial aims to provide an introduction to the basics of radio astronomy, and to introduce the techniques that allow radio astronomers to obtain and analyse data from radio telescopes. It is maintained at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Haystack Observatory.
  • The following resources provide educational, multimedia tours of this solar system. Individual sections describe and illustrate the Sun, planets, moons, and small bodies:

History of physics

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