University of Oregon


The following is a selected list of resources for starting research in Physics, including astrophysics and astronomy. For further assistance, contact a science reference librarian.

Starting Your Research

These sources can help you identify a topic for your research, provide an overview of a specific issue or topic, and suggest other materials which might be useful for your research. All of the books below are located in the Science Reference area.

  • Subject Encyclopedias and Other Reference Works
    Subject encyclopedias provide introductory articles with references, and thus can be a very useful starting point. General physics encyclopedias are located in Science Reference, mostly at the beginning of the QC section. There also are physics dictionaries and handbooks in this section. More specialized references on astronomy and astrophysics, and on physics sub-disciplines, will be located in QB, and elsewhere in QC, respectively. Below are some titles that may be helpful.
    • Dictionary of Physics, 2009. Alan Isaacs. [Also, QC5 .D496 2000]
    • Dictionary of Pure and Applied Physics. Dipak Basu. [QC5 .D485 2001]
    • Encyclopedia of Applied Physics [Science Reference QC5 .E543 2004] 12 volumes
    • Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology, 3rd ed. [Science Reference Q123 .E497 2002]
      This 18-volume work covers physics, chemistry, engineering and materials science.
    • Center for History of Physics (AIP), 1961- .
    • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics [Science Reference QD 65 .C4] Also on the web at:
    • Dictionary of Physics: Russian, English, German, and French [Science Reference QC 5 .D54 1989]
    • Guide to Information Sources in the Physical Sciences [Z7141 .S74 2000]
    • Handbook of Physical Quantities. Igor S. Grigoriev [Science Reference QC 61 .H36 1997]
    • How Everything Works: Explaining the Physics of Everyday Life
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy. [QB15 .C355 1999]
    • Cambridge Dictionary of Astronomy. Jacqueline Mitton. [Science Reference QB14 .M553 2007]
    • A Dictionary of Astronomy. Ian Ridpath, rev. ed. [QB14 .D52 2003]
    • Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics. [Science Reference QB14 .E534 2001] 4 volumes
    • Encyclopedia of the Solar System. [Science Reference QB501 .E53 2007]
    • Gravitation and Spacetime, 2nd ed. Hans C. Ohanian. [QC178 .O35 1994]
    • Monthly Sky Guide, 7th ed. Ian Ridpath. [Science Reference QB63 .R525 2009]
    • Astronomy Image Explorer
    • Unified Astronomy Thesaurus
  • Materials Science and Optics
    • Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology. [TA1509 .P33 2008 2 vols.]
    • Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology [TA402 .E53 2001] 11 volumes
    • Optics Encyclopedia: Basic Foundations and Practical Applications. [Science Reference QC351.2 .O64 2004] 5 volumes
    • Springer Handbook of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics [Science Reference QC173 .S5985 2006]
    • Handbook of Optics. Michael Bass (OSA) [QC 369 . H35 2010]
  • Journals
    If you just want to look for current topics, try browsing through current physics journals such as Physics World and Physics Today. You will find Physics World on the Current Journals shelves in the Science Library, shelved alphabetically by title.
    To find the online version of Physics Today and other physics journals that you can access electronically at the UO, use FindText.

Handbooks and Reference Data

Finding Articles

To look for articles in journals, newspapers, or magazines, you will need to start with an index or database (online index.) An index will allow you to look by subject or a few keywords which describe your topic, or by author.

  • Academic Search Premier
    Multidisciplinary, scholarly articles.
  • e-Print archive
    This is a searchable database of electronic preprints ("e-prints") in physics and related disciplines. Many of the papers posted here are later published in peer-reviewed journals. 
  •  IEEE Xplore
    Covers journals and conference proceedings in computer science and many areas of interest to physics, particularly materials science, optics, and nanotechnology. Full text of IEEE journals from 1998-present.
    will email you the table of contents from any of more than 30,000 journals or magazines, both online and in print. From the ingenta homepage, click "Register," then "Manage My Ingenta."
  •  NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
    Consists of four searchable databases of abstracts of articles in astronomy and astrophysics, instrumentation, and physics and geophysics. Some full-text articles, as well as astronomy preprints, are available, including digitized historical astronomy and astrophysics literature.
  • Scitation
    AIP. A freely-available index to a subset of the physics literature.
    A high energy physics literature database maintained by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center Library.
  • Web of Science
     This interdisciplinary database allows you to find out who has cited a known reference, as well as searching for current research articles by author, topic, etc., from 1975 to the present.

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Finding Books

  • UO Library Catalog
    Identify books by topic, title or author; identify journals and magazines owned by the UO Library, owned by the Orbis Cascade Alliance (37 Northwest academic libraries) or worlwide search here. To find journal articles on your topic, use the databases listed in the section above. Once you have a citation, you can check the library catalog by doing a title search on the name of the journal to see if we have it here.

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People & Organizations

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Web Resources

For more information contact Margaret Bean, Head, Science Library
(541) 346-1876
Created by mbean on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Nov 2, 2015
1501 Kincaid Street
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