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Studying What are some good physics journals or magazines?

  1. Jan 2, 2018 #1
    Hi I'm a HS student and wish to become a physicist. In order to be acquainted with academic literature as well as latest physics researches, please suggest me some good physics journals or magazines that I should read!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2018 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Why don't you use the time and learn some math instead? Or start with classical mechanics? Optics? The problem with popular magazines is, that they have to oversimplify their content. They get boring fast and what's worse, you learn what will later turn out to be wrong. This is often the case and a waste of time, because to change what you once believed true is harder than to learn it correctly the first time.

    You can also start to read our insight articles on many subjects. They vary across all degrees of difficulty, so don't be disappointed, if you don't understand some. However, there are also a lot of general articles which can provide you insights and maybe make you curious to search the web for further information. We have also some insight articles on how to self study math and physics and where the difficulties lie. I've listed them here:
    These are all good and reliable sources and in my opinion far better than any common science magazine article. E.g. you could pick an insight article about a topic you're interested in and then simply try to understand it. I.e. look up what you don't understand, read additional articles on words you find on the internet (many universities have their lecture scripts and similar online), and fight yourself through the article. This way you learn two things simultaneously: the content of the article and how to read an article, which you don't understand at first. The latter is daily scientific work. Even professors often have to fight themselves through scientific papers. They maybe faster, but do not automatically know everything.

    Of course I could name a few science mags which are entertaining to read, but this is not what I would do to learn anything. Even Wikipedia articles have weaknesses, but they are usually still better than popular science journals. Don't bother how to build the house, get your tools ready instead! There is so much to learn and easier available than ever. This should be exciting enough.
  4. Jan 2, 2018 #3


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    Articles in scientific journals (Physical Review, Physics Letters, etc.) are highly technical and written for an "audience" who is assumed to be expert in the specific field and sub-field. They don't include background material that you can find in textbooks and other articles. They're usually difficult to read even for PhD students, and more so for undergraduates and high school students.

    For "general reading" by undergraduates and perhaps high school students, I suggest e.g. Physics Today, the news magazine published by the American Physical Society for its members. It does not publish original research articles, but instead news articles, overviews and historical articles. They're aimed at professional physicists, but undergraduates can usually get at least part way through the overview articles, and the news articles give an idea of "what's happening now." Some of it is online:


    I don't know how much of it you can access without being a member of the APS. The Institute of Physics in the UK publishes something similar, but I'm not familiar with it. Science and Nature magazines publish both news articles and research articles, and cover all the natural sciences, not just physics, but sometimes they have worthwhile news articles on physics topics.
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