Find the Best Academic Journals for Physics & Maths Undergrads

In summary, when searching for the best academic journals for physics and maths undergrads, it is important to consider factors such as impact factor, peer-review process, and relevance to your specific field of study. Some top journals in these fields include Physical Review Letters, Journal of Mathematical Physics, and Classical and Quantum Gravity. It is also beneficial to consult with professors and colleagues for recommendations and to regularly check for new and emerging journals in the field.
  • #1
PainterGuy
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Hi,

Could you please let me know of some good physics and mathematics academic journals for undergrads? I'm look for a journal(s) whose approach is focused on helping someone understand a certain topic and providing a little bit intuition. I'd prefer something like DeepDyve. I understand that it's not a journal rather an online searchable database housing articles from different journals. Perhaps, you might think DeepDyve could also serve the purpose if one goes through a number of articles on a certain topic and then choose the one which one finds much to their liking.

Thank you.
 
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  • #2
The American Journal of Physics sounds like what you are looking for. Probably a little too advanced if you are interested in generic undergrad physics topics, but Reviews of Modern Physics is a fantastic journal. If there is an article in RMP covering your field, then it is probably worth reading.
 
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  • #3
here is a site where the same question for math was answered:

https://mathoverflow.net/questions/36850/journals-for-undergraduates

uh oh, reading one of these recommended sources just taught me that the great John Conway has succumbed to Covid - 19. Now I feel even more touched by this catastrophe, in my relative isolation.
 
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mathwonk said:
uh oh, reading one of these recommended sources just taught me that the great John Conway has succumbed to Covid - 19. Now I feel even more touched by this catastrophe, in my relative isolation.

Happily, there were subsequent births in three of the neighboring houses. :)

diogenesNY
 
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  • #8
You don't learn to swim by sitting on the side of the pool.

I've mentored a lot of students in publishable research, some from as early as the 6th grade. Of course, they are reading and citing the primary literature in their research fields.

The best approach is not to limit yourself to journals "more understandable" for a given educational level, but to pick a subject area where your interest is sufficient to maintain the necessary effort to survive in the deep water. Having an adult mentor to help point you to the more beneficial articles is also huge. This will allow you to spend more time and effort on relevant articles that may also be more accessible to new readers in a given field.

Once you have a promising article in hand to read, the best approach is to go slow. I often read the abstract two or three or four times when I come to a new field. I also take a lot of time with the introduction, and often branch out and read the abstracts of several papers cited in the introduction. If the new research area is my own interest, I'll take the time to discuss it with students and colleagues. If the new paper is mainly a subject of interest to a student I'm mentoring, I'll encourage them to talk about it with me and other students to try and find some agreement that we understand what the main points are.

In the absence of students, mentors, or colleagues to discuss new papers with, one is left with zooming out and measuring one's understanding against other papers and published works in the field. It can help to check out the papers that cite the paper one is reading and see what the interpretation is of papers that cited it. Is your understanding comparable with that of papers that cite it? If not, you may be misinterpreting it.
 
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  • #9
Dr. Courtney said:
You don't learn to swim by sitting on the side of the pool.

I've mentored a lot of students in publishable research, some from as early as the 6th grade. Of course, they are reading and citing the primary literature in their research fields.

The best approach is not to limit yourself to journals "more understandable" for a given educational level, but to pick a subject area where your interest is sufficient to maintain the necessary effort to survive in the deep water.

Thank you, @Dr. Courtney .

I agree with you and you have answered an important question which I had in mind but didn't ask.

I might be wrong but many people like me think that journal articles are written by professionals for other professionals in the same field so if someone is not a professional then there is no point in writing.

On the other hand, though I'm not a professional, I have a difficult time finding a suitable topic to write about for several reasons. For example, one of the reasons is as follows. if I want to write an article about Fourier series or transform, what should I write about it? Explaining it? But there are thousands of textbooks and online resources which do the same job. So, why would some journal accept my article? The same goes for any other topic I can think of.

Likewise, if I want to write an article about the roots of quadratic equation. Should I just write a detailed article to make it simple as if I'm explaining it to my younger brother? Perhaps, an article is like a 'mini' book focused on a single topic where you, i.e. the author, try to explain the given topic the way you think and feel about it, and at the same time supporting your arguments and statements using relevant literature of the related field.

I also understand that there are research and data oriented articles which have their own value. For example, if I choose to write an article about the effect of coal power plants on atmosphere in a certain area, it might be useful and different from some other articles on the same subject. But the problem is that writing such articles is difficult, needs a lot of data, you need to go around finding information about coal grade being used, air filters being used in power plants, if regulations are being follows, how improvements could be made, etc.

Thank you!
 
  • #10
PainterGuy said:
I might be wrong but many people like me think that journal articles are written by professionals for other professionals in the same field

That's pretty much it.

PainterGuy said:
so if someone is not a professional then there is no point in writing.

I would say "expert" rather than professional, but again, that's pretty much it.

But the topic seems to have shifted. It started out with you asking where you could read articles, but it's shifted to a journal where you could write articles.

I'm afraid the answer is simple (albeit unpopular). Become an expert.

Worse, part of becoming an expert is reading other people's journal articles. A journal is a scientific conversation. Listening is as important as talking. Perhaps more so.
 
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  • #11
PainterGuy said:
Could you please let me know of some good physics and mathematics academic journals for undergrads? I'm look for a journal(s) whose approach is focused on helping someone understand a certain topic and providing a little bit intuition.
When I was an undergraduate, I read a number of journals in my field, and sometimes, a textbook would cite a particular journal article, particularly if it was an article discussing an initial awareness of some phenomenon, or theory, or mathematical development related to phenomenon or theory. When studying introductory nuclear physics, or even introductory physics, one might be directed to some early articles of prominent physicists, and similarly for mathematics.

My department often had upper level undergrads contribute to journal articles written by faculty members.
 
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  • #12
PainterGuy said:
Could you please let me know of some good physics and mathematics academic journals for undergrads? I'm look for a journal(s) whose approach is focused on helping someone understand a certain topic and providing a little bit intuition.
This is not what journals are for. This is what textbooks are for. Articles in journals are a conversation between experts on topics whose limits are being pushed. Usually the experts themselves do not know the answer and progress is incremental. To ultimately become an expert and contribute to the conversation, you will at some point need to start reading journal articles because there will be no textbooks.

Note: There are also journals that specialize in teaching and didactics of different subjects.
 
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  • #13
Thank you.

Dr. Courtney said:
You don't learn to swim by sitting on the side of the pool.

I've mentored a lot of students in publishable research, some from as early as the 6th grade. Of course, they are reading and citing the primary literature in their research fields.

Actually, I had liked what @Dr. Courtney's said.
 

Related to Find the Best Academic Journals for Physics & Maths Undergrads

1. What are the criteria for determining the best academic journals for physics and maths undergraduates?

The criteria for determining the best academic journals for physics and maths undergraduates include the journal's impact factor, relevance to the field, reputation among peers, and the quality of the published research.

2. How can I access these academic journals?

Most academic journals can be accessed through university or college libraries. Some journals may also offer online subscriptions for individuals.

3. Can I submit my own research to these journals as an undergraduate student?

Yes, many academic journals welcome submissions from undergraduate students. However, it is important to carefully review the submission guidelines and ensure that your research meets the standards of the journal before submitting.

4. Are there any open access journals that are considered top choices for physics and maths undergraduates?

Yes, there are several open access journals that are highly regarded in the fields of physics and maths, such as PLOS One and the Journal of Open Source Software. These journals make their articles freely available to readers.

5. How can I stay updated on the latest research in physics and maths as an undergraduate student?

One way to stay updated on the latest research is to regularly read top academic journals in these fields. Additionally, attending conferences and networking with professors and peers can also provide valuable insights and updates on current research.

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