biography bodies physics reference useful maths society

Interesting and Useful Sites

The criteria for inclusion in this informal page is that the material is not linked to any particular course but should interest a Physics student and may be useful for assignments. Material related to Astronomy, Meteorology, Space Science, Solid State Physics, Optics and some other subjects can be found in related physics course pages . Below, you will find a mixture of source material sites and gateway sites. They are split into the following categories (in alphabetic order) Biography & History, Bodies, Physics, Reference, Useful maths & Society. We recommend Google as a first stop search engine.

Biography and History

A portrait gallery of famous physicists , with emphasis on the 20th century. Both thumbnail pictures and larger pictures of general interest and potential relevance to anyone writing an essay.

An excellent history of Maths (and Physics) archive with biographies, pictures, birthplace maps and much more besides, including a virtual visit to James Clerk Maxwell's birthplace. Very well indexed. This site is improving all the time and is quite simply the best in the world in this area.

Biographical information on 4000 years of women in science, mainly pre 20th century, is indexed in this developing site. See also Women in Mathematics and the Adultlearn site and a site indexing some of 'the greatest women in scince history' about women in science.

Don't miss out the Nobel Foundation website for a full list of all Nobel prize winners, with acceptance speeches, biographies, portraits, press releases and other useful background.

Classic papers in Chemistry contains on-line copies of much of relevance to basic physics too, and illustrated biographies of contributors.

Set your biography in the correct context by browsing the Internet History of Science Sourcebook. This is an excellent resource leading you to many original texts that have had an impact on the evolution of scientific ideas and practice.

Another good site for context is the American Physical Society's Century of Physics timeline that runs from 1896 - 1997. Another time line of discoveries in optics, electricity and magnetism runs from BC to about 1900, with hyperlinks to biographic information. Several sites offer a timeline of Chemistry, including Wikipedia and whose version has more text and illustrations than most.. The Royal Society's timeline running from 1665 to the 21st century is nicely done and marks the wide range of pioneering papers that have been published by them since their foundation.

Slightly whacky but containing notable scientists among a very extensive database is find a grave.


Jisc, who run the network also have a digital resources portal but you need to search byond the acronyms and abbrviations.

I'm not sure if it counts as a 'body' but the online education database has links to open access courseware (like ours) in a wide variety of subjects. We have been ranked in the top 100 on the web.

Three maps of the UK showing Web sites in higher education institutions and research labs (including Government funded research centres such as the National Physical Laboratory). Notice that for the "Universities" map you can go directly to one of the functions of an instituion selected from the list to the left of the map.

The Web site for the Institute of Physics, the physicists professional body in the UK. The IOP have a student section called Nexus, no relative of the eponymous dating agency, and a major publishing house for physics texts and journals.

The European Physical Society supported PhysNet gives quick access to Physics Department pages across the world and on-line journal resources. For a US perspective, try PhysLink.

The Web site for the American Institute of Physics contains details of their activities, publications and an extensive catalogue of physics related links, indexed by main subject. Note their Science News page.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science runs Science NetLinks. It points to some good sites over a wide range of subjects, although it is aimed in the first instance at High School curricula.

The New Scientist's WWW pages. When you first enter you have to register yourself as a user (free). Extensive pages, with emphasis on the topical, and many pointers to information sites around the globe. Note also the website of the Scientific American .

Netskills is a site with an extensive range of net skills training material, set up especially for the Higher Education Community


Hyperphysics has been flagged by Physics World as one of the finest and easiest to use Physics resources on the web. Almost every course we give would benefit from having a link to the hyperphysics site. See if you agree.

Current physics research is flagged by the American Physical Society where you can browse the 'focus' articles aimed at the non-specialist and whose website has a page called 'collections' that highlights recent hot topics. Also worth a visit is the American Institute of Physics Physics Today site.

A walk through time is a brief history of how time has been measured, provided by the Physics Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US. Other pages on this site provide an explanation of UTC, Julian days, etc., and access to programs that will set your PC clock accurately.

Need to search for the value of a fundamental physical constant?

Particle physics doesn't appear much in our first year courses. The STFC have introductory web-pages to particle physics, including posters and videos . A site that walks rather than runs, but gets quite a way, is the particle adventure. Peter HIggs journal article on why we need to go beyond the standard model. CERN's 'beyond the standard model' introduction. Well worth watching for an insight into how big science works is a series of short films called colliding particles made following a British group working at CERN.

A site that is less forbidding than it sounds and worth a visit is the 'official' superstring web page. Another good page on superstrings aims to give a flavour without all the high power maths. We leave it to you to decide whether an attempt to make superstring theory accessible to undergraduates is successful. It is a good try.

For a good background on two of the world's renowned particle accelerators visit SLAC. After lights out at LEP, the worlds largest particle collider, you might want to see the future offered by CERN's large hadron collider project.

NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) is a speciality of Biomedical Physics at Aberdeen. If you would like to read up on the technique and even operate an on-line machine, visit the University of Florida's NMR on-line site. Further study in depth can be found in an on-line book on basic MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Try here for a good introduction to superconductors.

Start here for an introduction to Einstein's theory of special relativity. Anyone who would like to explore general relativity should look at this site.

A nanotech open directory site has up-to-date sources of information on nanotechnology.

Ideal for computer exploration is this visual quantum mechanics site from a group of Kansas State Universities offering active demonstrations of quantum concepts and spectroscopy. You may need to download the accompanying Shockwave viewer.

A site on entropy particular focuses on how the concept is relevant to communication.

Particularly for students taking Honours in another subject, look at the good natural science pages (from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice) which offer a well written introduction to a range of physical science topics, with Java animations. The University of Colorado offers physics simulations They also offer open acces to their modern physics course materials.

Want an application for all that mechanics you've swatted up? Try Amusement Park Physics.

For some fun try the San Francisco Exploratorium. As an example that there's more to many everyday activities than meets the eye, see the Science of boiling an egg from the University of Exeter Physics Dept.

If you're struggling to keep up an interest in Electricity & Magnetism, try a Java-based E & M tutorial. The same site has a useful microscope primer.

A list of sites offering interactive physics java applets, including The University of Colarado's well-known Physics 2000 site .

A history of transistors and how they are made from semiconductors has been assembled in this glossy site from the Public Broadcasting Service and the American Institute of Physics. Don't say where you found this non-pc semiconductor site.

Pages from the US National Air and Space Museum describe how things fly in straight-forward language. Introduces Newton's laws of motion, Kepler's laws and other important physics.

A well indexed picture library of physics lecture demonstrations shows phenomena in several fundamental areas such as optics, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves and other disciplines.

Physics students in particular should find it worth visiting this physics problems and questions site that has one problem a month discussed in detail. You can contribute to the answer.

A collection of physics help articles written in informal style on subjects that often stick people who are getting to grips with basic physics has been written by Kenny Felder.

A site with a selected link to each of the main topics in Advanced Higher Physics is well worth looking at.

One of the most technically demanding experiments ever undertaken is the experiment known as the Gravity Probe B to test Einstein's theory of general relativity. Itwas some 30 years in the preparation and the University of Aberdeen Natural Philosophy Department (the old name for Physics) contributed some central research to it under the auspices of Professor Mike Player.

This page is a custom-built resource guide for physics. If you would like to go to another guide with a wider remit, try the Intute gateway for science and engineering .


Useful for access to specially selected acdemic web material in Physics, Astronomy and other Physical Sciences is the Intute gateway

Generally useful are the pages for physics and chemistry .

Physics Connect offers a starting point to surf for the latest white papers, news, videos, expertise and case studies. Finally, a slightly eccentric but widely embracing metasite is the Higher Education Links List (HELL).

For access to other University libraries, on-line newspapers, on-line dictionaries, etc., go to NISS .

A periodic table with physically related information on the elecments is provided by Gordon England. Well worth a visit is the chemsoc visual periodic table. Finally, the Elemental Data List of NIST concentrates on the physical properties of the elements. You want information on isotopes? The Isotopes Project home page has it.

For elementary particle properties, see the Property Data Group pages

For access to a wide range of physical, chemical, mechanical, safety and other data see the University of Arizona's property data index. A more chemically oriented physical properties database PhysProp is available from SRC bundled in a search with other databases.

If you're seriously interested in the identification of spectroscopic lines, you'll need the Atomic Line List site of the University of Kentucky that contains over 900,000 lines, with search facilities. The NIST Physical Reference Data includes spectroscopic data amongst a much wider range of data.

Also useful is a clear and helpful 9-chapter guide to Technical Report Writing that comes from one of NASA's divisions. Well worth copying and reading.

A detailed on-line guide to project management gives an insight into how this is subject is tackled commercially.

The strong overlap at times between chemistry and physics means we should not miss out the homepage of the Royal Society of Chemistry which offers chemically oriented learning resources, information, including an on-line version of the chemists 'goldbook', web links and more.

Enliven your essay with a physics limerick?

For times of sunrise and sunset select "city, non-US country" and enter "Aberdeen, Scotland" or any other city with an airport.

For something different, look at the human head.

A site giving useful background for essays on many engineering achievements of the 20th century has been put up by the National Academy of Engineering.

Many indiviuals keep pages of their own links or contributions to Physics and related subjects. For an overview of scientific software, see the scientific web, maintained by Stefan Steinhaus in Germany.

Useful maths

Our own pages contain a useful maths summary of background concepts and relationships that an Hons physics student is expected to know.

A very good site that provides web-based maths information at its best that will help many students who care to explore here is Langara College Internet Resources for Maths students . You will find the site very useful for calculus and algebra. Also amongst its many offerings is a set of applets that you can download to calculate and draw a wide variety of special curves.

Essayroo his an excellent portfolio site for maths covering maths history (very good), maths books (generally at school level), maths software (useful), maths calculators (wide selection), maths apps on Itunes and maths quizes.

Great educational fun for those who like to visualise their maths is the growing site Manipula Math with more than 250 java applets illustrating maths concepts from simple ideas like slopes of curves and basic trig functions to Fourier sums and chaos theory. Good for illustrating ideas you have already met.

Calculus on the web COW is a series of interactive modules for learning and practising calculus. Also well worth looking at is the visual calculus site.

WebMath offers basic maths like fractions, trig, lines, polynomials, shapes, calculus all solved on-line, with explanations. Recommended for the maths shy, and there are interesting pages for the more experienced too.

A quick reference for tables, formulae, integrals, identities, constants, special numbers and more is SOS Mathematics.

For statistics, a good start is Rice University's Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics . See also the treasure trove of

A very helpful site giving a practical guide to wavelet analysis is a good place to explore this modern technique for time series analysis. The site also offers free wavelet software.

Anyone studying aspects of computational physics may appreciate the backup of Imperial College's on-line computational physics course.

A good site to start from if you have an interest in chaos (and who doesn't) is Chaos at Maryland. Also, don't miss Julien C. Sprott's gallery of images of fractals, chaos demonstrations, strange attractors, julia sets and more from the University of Wisconsin.

Not the usual kind of reference site for physics but anyone using spheres and spherical geometry in their thinking will appreciate this site on the geometry of the sphere.

Stretching the meaning of the word 'useful', we couldn't resist including this site on prime numbers and another on an encyclopaedia of integer sequences.

The EULER Project is a new resource aiming to be a one-stop search engine for mathematical resources on your chosen topic.


Science magazine's topics are well worth looking at.

Need to explain some science to schools and are wondering what different age groups might know? The American Association for the Advancement of Science has produced benchmarks for science literacy.

It took almost all of human history up to about 1800 for the world population to reach 1 billion. It is now over 7 billion, the last billion having been added in 12 years. If you think there is a problem here, look at the United Nations Population Information Network.

Sporting injury? Back problem? Try featuring the skeletal system.

Alternatively, have a relaxed browse in the Online Literature Library. Stuck for a spelling, meaning or synonym? Use the OED on line directly (Athens password needed for off-campus access).

Socially useful sites:

For public sector information try the public sector portal.

Search the National rail enquiries, buy cheap rail tickets or travel by National Express bus or Citylink bus; look up services or the yellow pages or tides around the country; buy internet books or cds; for car journeys, see the AA route planner.

A student's guide to finding accommodation is sensible advice offered by a London letting agent whom I think have no commercial interests in Aberdeen in spite of their Scottish name. Check any legal advice against Scots law.

Find a person try pipl or BT phone numbers (with location map) or postcodes or the cost of postage or streetmaps or Ordnance Survey maps or use directory enquiries. Access electoral register information.

Want to entertain someone, or yourself? Look at the searchable online archive of recipes.

Looking for a job? Try - the recruitment website for academic and research jobs. Easy to use, updated daily. For Physics jobs and careers advice, look at the IoP careers page

Physics home
Content John S. Reid
Minor updates Jun 2020