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Physics Guide


About the guide

This guide provides links to resources for Physics students and is designed to make navigation quick and efficient.  Quality navigation is critical! It does save you time and effort. If you need help finding information or would like to suggest resources that need to be included in this guide, please contact one of the librarians listed on the side.

Off-campus access to library electronic resources: use UNB proxy server or UNB VPN Client

Off-campus access to Google Scholar: use the link or go to Google Scholar and follow the steps below:

  • click the three lines in the top left corner
  • click Settings
  • click Library Links
  • Search for 'University of New Brunswick', check the box next to the results, and save your settings.

Information sources

Adapted from UC San Diego guide


The primary sources are where original research is reported. A primary source gives you direct access to the subject of your research. Over time, this information makes its way into secondary sources, while the tertiary sources are the resources used to search for primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are more credible as evidence, however, good research practice is to use both primary and secondary sources. 




When searching for journal articles, indexing, and abstracting databases are usually the best place to begin. The databases listed below provide access to international scientific and technical literature in physics, electrical engineering, electronics, communications, control engineering, computers, computing, information technology, manufacturing, production, and mechanical engineering. Many records supply full-text linking. Below are some recommended databases for research in Physics.

Key Resources

  • Scopus
    Scopus, a multidisciplinary online resource, will be invaluable to students and faculty in various fields of study within the sciences, health sciences and the social sciences. Scopus offers full-text linking, abstracting-and-indexing information including peer-reviewed titles from international publishers, Open Access journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, quality web sources.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
    "Open access to 674,613 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics"--Home page.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • SciFinder-n (Chemical Abstracts (CAplus), CAS Registry, CASREACT, CHEMCATS, CHEMLIST, MARPAT)
    SciFinder-n is the world's premier chemical information database produced by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society. SciFinder-n indexes over 50,000 journal titles (historical and current) and patent records from 63 patent authorities. You can search documents by topic, author, company name, or document identifier such as DOI; substances by name or CAS Registry Number, OR use the editor to draw chemical structures, substructures, or reactions. SciFinder-n is a core research tool for chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, physics, environmental science. SciFinder-n is a collection of 6 CAS databases plus Medline: Chemical Abstracts (CAplus), CAS Registry, CASREACT, CHEMCATS, CHEMLIST, MARPAT. Depending on your research, SciFinder-n is complementary to other databases like Scopus, PubMed, INSPEC, IEEE. Content includes: journal articles, patents, conference proceedings, technical reports, books, dissertations, and meeting abstracts, organic and inorganic substances, DNA and protein sequences, single and multi-step reactions, synthetic preparations, catalog database of commercially available products from chemical suppliers, Markush structures, etc.
    Subscribed multi-user unlimited access
  • Inspec (Engineering Village)
    "Inspec is the world’s leading bibliographic database, providing comprehensive access to the world's scientific and technical literature in physics, electrical engineering, electronics, communications, control engineering, computers, computing, information technology, manufacturing, production and mechanical engineering. First published in 1898 as the Scientific Abstracts, Inspec now contains close to 10 million bibliographic records taken from more than 3850 scientific and technical journals and 2200 conference proceedings, as well as numerous books, reports, dissertations and patents, many with full-text linking."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • IEEE Xplore Digital Library (Current & Archive)
    The IEEE Xplore Digital Library is a powerful resource for discovery and access to both current and archival scientific and technical content published by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and its publishing partners. This resource provides Web access to almost 3-million full-text documents from some of the world's most highly cited publications in electrical engineering, computer science and electronics, including:
    IEEE journals, transactions, and magazines, including early access documents
    IEEE conference proceedings
    IET journals
    IET conference proceedings
    IEEE published standards
    IEEE Standards Dictionary Online
    Note: limited to 10 simultaneous users.

    10 simultaneous users.
  • Earth, Atmospheric, & Aquatic Science Database (ProQuest)
    The Earth, Atmospheric, & Aquatic Science Database is an interdisciplinary resource of quality, curated A&I combined with full-text content from scholarly journals, trade journals, conference proceedings, and other sources. The coverage extends Meteorological & Geoastrophysical Abstracts (MGA) by providing a sizable element of full-text access along with comprehensive discovery through the extensive abstracts and indexes structured using controlled vocabulary managed by expert editorial teams. For coverage of aquatic science, the collection features the entire range of bibliographic records from Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA).

    Content Types: Scholarly Journals, Trade Journals, Books, Conference Papers and Proceedings, Government & Official Publications, Magazines, Newspapers, Other Sources, Reports, Tables, Wire Feeds, Working Papers, Video and Audio.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • MathSciNet
    MathSciNet "is a comprehensive database covering the world's mathematical literature."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar searches a subset of the Web that Google has classified as "scholarly literature". They do not publish a list of chosen sites, and they do not state how often sites are checked. Some important sources are not covered at all. Thus, Google Scholar alone should not be relied on for comprehensive research.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Full-Text Journal Sources 


Reviews can be found in many of the major physics journals. However, listed below are titles that specialize in reviews.

Journal Abbreviations

Sometimes when working with journal articles and citations you will need to know either the full title for an abbreviation or having the full title, you will need to provide a recognized authoritative abbreviation.

Books and Reports

Searching for books at UNB Libraries

To search for books at UNB Libraries, use UNB WorldCat. UNB WorldCat identifies books held by UNB Libraries and beyond. UNB WorldCat has also added millions of articles that are searched along with entries for books. 

Search UNB WorldCat:
Limit to: 

To browse the shelves for books in Physics at the Science & Forestry Library (Fredericton) and Hans W. Klohn Commons (Saint John), try the following ranges:

QB 1-991 Astronomy
QB 1-139 General
QB 460-466 Astrophysics
QC 1-75 General
QC 170-197 Atomic Physics
QC 251-338.5 Heat, Thermodynamics
QC 350-467 Optics, Light Spectroscopy
QC5 01-766 Electricity and Magnetism
QC770-798 Nuclear and Particle Physics
QC 851-999 Meteorology, Climatology

To search for materials not held by UNB Libraries, try World Cat or select from our list of other library catalogues. Books and other materials not available at UNB may be available for loan from another institution through our document delivery service. See the document delivery page for electronic request forms and more details.

Searching for government documents 

For those government documents which are available online, try using Google Custom Search (follow the link below).



Looking for more? Try the Government Resources by Jurisdiction link (once you are on the webpage, scroll down to see links to all resources), or contact the Government Documents staff for assistance. 

Searching for reports, departmental publications, etc. 

Try the Federal Science Library (FSL) information hub. The Federal Science Library (FSL) is a one-stop, self-serve portal where you can access library services and search the print collections and repositories of seven science-based departments and agencies from a single place. Wherever possible, departmental publications, reports, data sets, and other content are freely available for anyone to access or download.

Theses and Dissertations


What is a thesis?

A thesis or dissertation is an original document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. (International Standard ISO 7144: Documentation-Presentation of theses and similar documents

In Canada and the US, a thesis is a project that marks the end of a Master's (MSc) program, while the dissertation is produced at the end of a doctoral (Ph.D.) program. In some universities, however, a dissertation and a thesis are seen as the same thing. 

Finding a thesis and dissertation 






Use the following sites to browse theses and dissertations from around the world: 


Facts & Other Resources

When researching a new topic it is often helpful to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Physics. To find additional reference materials, check WorldCat (the library catalogue) or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
    CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is a ready-reference book of chemical and physical data. The print copy of CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is the premier source not only of physical properties data but also of mathematical tables, sources of critical data, chemical nomenclature, symbols, and terminology. It has been published since 1913; and is updated and enhanced annually.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Dictionary of astronomy, A
    "Cutting a clear path through the complex technical language of astronomy this dictionary will be invaluable to students, professionals, and amateur astronomers seeking a comprehensive source of helpful information. Written by Ian Ridpath, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and renowned author and broadcaster, with an expert team of contributors, the dictionary ranges from astrophysics and cosmology to galaxies and time, space missions and telescopes to black holes and solar waves."
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Encyclopedia of the solar system

    "This book is filled with the knowledge about our solar system that resulted from all this exploration, whether by spacecraft or by telescopes both in space and earth-bound. All of this new knowledge is based on discoveries made in the interim by scientist-explorers who have followed their inborn human imperative to explore and to understand. Many old mysteries, misunderstandings, and fears that existed 50 years ago about what lay beyond the Earth have been eliminated. We now know the major features of the landscape in our cosmic backyard and can look forward to the adventure, excitement, and new knowledge that will result from more in-depth exploration by today's spacecraft, such as those actually exploring the surface of these faraway places, including the Huygens Titan lander and the Mars Exploration rovers, doing things that were unimaginable before the Space Age began. The Encyclopedia of the Solar System is filled with images, illustrations, and charts to aid in understanding. Every object in the solar system is covered by at least one chapter. Other chapters are devoted to the relationships among the objects in the solar system and with the galaxy beyond. The processes that operate on solar system objects, in their atmospheres, on their surfaces, in their interiors, and interactions with space itself are all described in detail. There are chapters on how we explore and learn about the solar system and about the investigations used to make new discoveries. And there are chapters on the history of solar system exploration and the missions that have carried out this enterprise. All written by an international set of world-class scientists using rigorous yet easy-to-understand prose"--Provided by publisher.

  • Dictionary of Physics, A

    Contains over 3,800 entries covering all commonly encountered physics terms and concepts, as well as terms from the related fields of astronomy, astrophysics, and physical chemistry. Includes 200 new entries and expanded coverage in areas including applied physics, statistical distributions, polymers, and nanoscience. Provides in-depth analysis of key topics such as crystal defects, magnetic resonance imaging, the solar system, low-temperature physics, nanophysics, and quantum entanglement.

  • Dictionary of Pure and Applied Physics

    Offers concise definitions of more than 3,000 terms covering a range of pure and applied disciplines such as accoustics, geometrical optics, low-temperature physics, and physical optics. This book is suitable for physicists, engineers, mathematicians, and technical writers.

  • Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Astronomy

    This new Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Astronomy is written specifically for the practical amateur astronomer. In addition to more than 1800 extended definitions that provide information and instruction on many topics, it provides an invaluable reference source for terms, techniques, instruments, formulas and processes for practicing observers -- both amateur and professional. Also featured are extensive appendices, including the Messier and Caldwell catalogs. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

Additional Resources

  • Encyclopedia of Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry [multiple locations SCI-REF QD451. E63 2001 vols. 1-3]

    Covers the mechanics of atoms and molecules and their interactions, the macroscopic and statistical description of systems at equilibrium, and the basic ways of treating reacting systems. This work provides instrumentation and fundamental theory employed in the major spectroscopic techniques and the experimental means for characterizing materials.

  • Encyclopedia of Modern Physics [SCI-REF QC5 .E544 1990]
  • Handbook of molecular physics and quantum chemistry [SCI-REF QD461 .H22 2003]

    Published in three volumes, this comprehensive reference work brings together in a single source for the first time, a detailed presentation of the most important theoretical concepts and methods for the study of molecules and molecular systems. The logical format of the Handbook allows the reader to progress from the foundations of the field to the most important and exciting areas of current research. Edited and written by an outstanding international team, and containing over 100 articles written by more than 50 contributors, it will be invaluable for both the expert researcher and the graduate student or postdoctoral worker active in any of the broad range of fields where these concepts and methods are important. Comprises three themed volumes: Fundamentals Molecular Electronic Structure Molecules in the Physico-Chemical Environment: Spectroscopy, Dynamics and Bulk Properties Presents detailed articles covering the key topics, presented in a didactic manner Focuses both on theory and the relation of experiment to theory Volume 1, Fundamentals presents the foundations of molecular physics and quantum chemistry. It consists of 7 parts arranged as follows:- Part 1 Introduction Part 2 Elements of Quantum Mechanics Part 3 Orbital Models for Atomic, Molecular and Crystal Structure Part 4 Symmetry Groups and Molecular Structure Part 5 Second Quantization and Many-Body Methods Part 6 Approximate Separation of Electronic and Nuclear Motion Part 7 Quantum Electrodynamics of Atoms and Molecules The central problem of molecular physics and quantum chemistry is the description of atomic and molecular electronic structure. The development of appropriate models for the description of the effects of electron correlation and of relativity are key components of the analysis. Volume 2, Molecular Electronic Structure, addresses these topics, and consists of 7 parts arranged as follows: Part 1 Approximation methods Part 2 Orbital Models and Generalized Product Functions Part 3 Electron correlation Part 4 Relativistic molecular electronic structure Part 5 Electronic structure of large molecules Part 6 Computational quantum chemistry Part 7 Visualization and interpretation of molecular electronic structure In reality no molecular system exists in isolation. Molecules interact with other atoms and molecules, and with their environment. Volume 3, Molecules in the Physico-Chemical Environment - Spectroscopy, Dynamics and Bulk Properties, consists of 7 parts arranged as follows:- Part 1 Response theory and propagator methods Part 2 Interactions between molecules Part 3 Molecules in different environments Part 4 Molecular Electronic spectra Part 5 Atomic Spectroscopy and Molecular Vibration-Rotation Spectroscopy Part 6 Molecular dynamics and dynamical processes Part 7 Bulk properties Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of Physics [SCI-REF QC5 .E545 1991]

    Completely revised to reflect the many developments in the field, the third edition of this reference features contributions by the most respected figures in the field. Among the topics new to this edition are atomic trapping and cooling, biophotonics, econophysics, the formation of stars and planets, quantum communication, space science and technology, and traffic flow. Each of the more than 500 entries are signed and most include a list of cross references. In addition, each chapter concludes with a list of bibliography, often divided by subject. The entries begin with a brief introduction and background to the topic, followed by discussion of its properties and methods of study, making this an excellent resource for advanced college students as well as specialists who wish to be up to date on areas of research outside their own. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • International Critical Tables of Numerical Data, Physics, Chemistry and Technology [SCI-STOR Q199 .N32 vols. 1-7]
  • Oxford Guide to the History of Physics and Astronomy, The [SCI-STACKS QC7 .O94 2005]

    Encompassing more than 200 alphabetically arranged entries, The Oxford Guide to the History of Physics and Astronomy traces the evolution of these bodies of knowledge as well as planetary science from the Renaissance to the beginning of the twenty-first century. For students, teachers, scientists, and readers of popular science books, the Guide deciphers the techniques and philosophies of physics and astronomy as well as the historical periods from which they emerged. Inside are Galileo's falling bodies, Newton's world system, pulsars and quasars, and proper quanta of other topics as illuminating as Light, as absorbing as Black Holes, and as expansive as the Theory of Everything. Biographies of leading contributors to natural knowledge, arranged where appropriate in pairs as in Plutarch's Lives, connect the personal with the general development of scientific ideas and the wider course of discovery. Whatever your topic in the history of modern astronomy, physics, or the planetary sciences, this convenient handbook is the single best place to begin or refresh your study. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Springer Handbook of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics [SCI-REF QC173 .S668 2006]

    CD-ROM available in SCI-CDROM.

  • Twentieth Century Physics [SCI-REF QC7 .T84 1995 vols. 1-3]

    Twentieth Century Physics is a major historical study of the scientific and cultural development of physics in our century. Published jointly by the American Institute of Physics and the Institute of Physics (U.K.), this unparalled three-volume work offers an engaging, scholarly overview of the evolution of modern physics.

While there is a wealth of information freely available on the internet, not all sites are created equal. Careful evaluation is a critical part of doing research on the Internet.   Below are some recommended sites:

Conference Proceedings, Preprints

Physical properties and spectra

Feynman Lectures

Citing Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document the "pedigree" of your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. The standard citation style for Physics is AIP.  Your instructor may require or recommend that you use another. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

Zotero and  Mendeley are popular citation management programs that can help you manage your references and can produce bibliographies in hundreds of styles. Watch the video on How to Use Mendeley Desktop (UNB users only) or explore the Mendeley Reference Manager guide to learn how to use the program.  


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Subject Specialties:
physics, chemistry, biology, biophysics, biochemistry, medical biophysics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, geology, forestry