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Journal Recommendations

  1. May 23, 2008 #1
    I am early in my undergrad physics work, and am looking for a journal/s to start reading to keep me up with current happenings, areas of research , etc.

    I was looking at getting nature physics, is that a good place to start or are there better options out there?
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  3. May 23, 2008 #2


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    How about Physics Today? It's a monthly publication of the American Physical Society, and you can get it free with a membership in APS, AAS, or the Society of Physics Students (SPS). It contains a lot of summaries of current research, and it's dumbed down a bit for people who know physics but don't specialize in that particular field.
  4. May 23, 2008 #3
    High profile results can appear in Nature or Science. Advances in our understanding that are solid progress but not necessarily groundbreaking can appear in AJP. Results that are intended to be communicated rapidly, to stimulate related research, can get published in Phys Rev Letters (which is split into sub-journals according to topic and is published more frequently).

    Check out your university library to see if they already subscribe to these journals, then you can get access to the articles at low cost.

    For a free option I highly recommend the ArXiV:


    This is stuff that is so bleeding edge that it has in many cases not been full peer-reviewed, but there is a huge amount of great, free content at this site.

    Finally, I recommend that you thoroughly learn upper-division quantum mechanics before trying to read through current research, but of course it doesn't hurt to take a quick look.
  5. May 23, 2008 #4


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  6. May 23, 2008 #5


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    Get an APS student membership. It's free for the first year and $28 per year after that. You get Physics Today for free with the membership. And if you are going to attend APS conferences, you'll need the membership anyway.

    Here's the link: http://www.aps.org/membership/student.cfm
  7. May 28, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the replys.

    I signed up for that trial year with the APS.
    I will probably also get Nature Physics.
    I have had a SciAm subscription for years now and am looking for something a bit more in depth.
    I had forgotten about ArXiV *bookmarks*, I used to dig through there when there was that awesome hbar add on for firefox, I really wish someone would update that.
  8. May 28, 2008 #7
    And don't forget about the other journals that nature does offer. I presume that your college should have electronic rights to the journals...

    the other journals are in various subjects, like nanotechnology, biotech, materials and the new one in geoscience. So if you have a special subject you like to delve a bit in, there should be a journal catering to your needs.
  9. May 29, 2008 #8


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    Being in grad school for awhile has sharpened my money saving skills. So, I would recommend that you use the library as much as possible. I have full access to all the journals that I have ever needed by that route.

    Another good source is if you have area where your physics professors hang out (i.e. coffee room etc.) they often leave older journals around from other places that you may not normally see.

    My exceptions for spending money is I am a member of the APS. They do many things to help us out. Also my conference fees reduction alone is worth the price.
  10. May 29, 2008 #9


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    If you simply want to read about the news and happenings in physics, then I would recommend:

    1. a subscription to Physics Today (which have been recommended to you and which you have done)
    2. subscribe to AIP's Physics News Update
    3. Read Nature and Science, including their online daily news page
    4. Read PhysicsWorld http://physicsworld.com/cws/home
    5. Read Physical Review Focus http://focus.aps.org/

    At your level, I would not use Nature and Science to read the scientific papers because most of them are beyond what you can comprehend at this point, but they do have a very good coverage of all the major news in physics, and science in general.

  11. May 30, 2008 #10


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    Nature Physics isn't actually that good, although it hasn't been around for very long so that might change in the future (it basically contains papers that almost made it into the main journal). However, at the moment you are better of getting Nature or Science instead. Papers in Nature/Science also tend to be a bit easier to read than the stuff that is pubished in more specialized journals since they are suppose to be accesible even to non-specialists in a field; i.e. they usually have an introduction that places the work in some kind of context etc.
  12. Jun 4, 2008 #11
    Thanks for that info, I wasn't sure the difference between the two only that Nature Physics would obviously be more physics focused, I was unaware that Physics wouldn't contain everything physics related that was also in Nature. I will keep this in mind.

    And thanks for the links ZapperZ, some more for the bookmarks.
  13. Jun 5, 2008 #12
    Instead of reading journals as an undergrad you might find it more interesting (and probably a lot more helpful) to read textbooks in your field, or else something like Feynman's Lecture's on Physics or the likes. I think you may find that as an early undergrad the writing and topics found in something like nature may seem overly pedantic and specialized. But that's just my opinion.
  14. Jun 5, 2008 #13
    I do have the very nice commemorative edition of the Feynman lectures, and I continue to study my text books as well.
    The journals are more for recreational reading than a learning tool. I don't expect to be an expert in any of subjects I read about (or even understand it all) but I hope it will help keep me interested in physics as well as start to give me an idea of the specific direction I would like to go in.

    I did end up going with Nature, and will probably pick up science at a later date.
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