Brooks Library Research Guides: Physics
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Finding News Articles
Handbooks & Guides
Images & Primary Resources
Items Of Interest
Maps of the night sky.
An online biographical dictionary from the online subscription database "Oxford Reference Online". This database has scientists alive from present day to over 2,500 years ago. For other science encyclopedias, look for the entire database available from our homepage, under "Research" and then "Databases by Title".
Biographical and bibliographical information for 86 women who made theoretical contributions to physics from 1900 to 1975. This site contains guides to the archive, a search engine, "fascinating documents" (a mixture of obituaries, scientific treatises, and correspondence), a few unrefereed articles on the history of women in physics, quotations, and a database of reference books and journal articles.
Search for nobel prize winners by year or by discipline--physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics--as well as Nobel Peace Prize winners. Info from 1901-current previous year is available.
ScienceWatch.com (part of Thomson Reuters "Scientific", of which Web of Science belongs) tracks recent research in the sciences, which includes interviews of some of the top scientists in emerging fields of study. You can also get to ScienceWatch and other online research tools for the sciences from the ISI Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) database from the CWU Library Databases page.
Print Location: Ref Q141 N45 2008
Highly recommended by Choice reviews, this set offers "more than 500 new articles on scientists who have died since 1980, 75 articles on scientists missed in the previous 18 volumes, and 250 upgrading commentaries on ... previously recognized scientists" all "accompanied by photographs and bibliographies." Those bibliographies give you a solid set of resources for further research, while the articles, being signed work of scholars in the field under editorial control, may be acceptable for citation. Check with your instructor! The emphasis is on natural and formal sciences, but information relating to psychology, for example, can be found using the index, volume 8.
Print Location: Ref QC5 .R596 2004
A one-volume encyclopedia which includes feature essays, graphs, charts, diagrams, illustrations, a bibliography and index.
Print Location: Ref Q175.35 .E53 2005 4 vols.
Encyclopedia covering wide-reaching ethical topics in the areas of science and technology. Signed authors from the fields of science, philosophy and political science write entries from a practical perspective, placing each topic in its historical context in order to show how ethics play out in real-life scenarios. Types of articles include biographies, topical overviews, specialized case studies, and key concepts or issues-based articles. Each entry includes a bibliography.
Print Location: Ref Q121 .M3
Thousands of well-illustrated articles, each containing a definition, general overview, relationships to other topics, and cross-references. See also the McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology (beginning with 2003 to current year): Ref Q121 M32
Oxford Reference Online, with over 2 million entries, many of which are illustrated, is a superb cross-searchable resource to use when you are at the 'looking for a clue' or 'needing verification' stages of your research. Oxford Reference provides quality, up-to-date reference content from its extensive series of well-respected books - and unlike Wikipedia you can cite Oxford Reference in a paper!
The Quick Reference materials include information on many Subjects, a series of informative Timelines, a wide variety of Quotations, as well as English Dictionaries, and Bilingual Dictionaries.
The Reference Library is divided into Subject Categories, drawn from the 308 volumes of the Oxford Reference Library. Those categories are:
at this link, and by contacting your friendly neighborhood Brooks Library Librarians.
Notes: The Search Box is in the upper right corner of each Oxford Reference page, with additional options on the left-side and in the center of the page before you scroll down. Most Oxford Reference results pages are scrollable lists of information, and scrolling is worth doing.
There is also an Advanced Search available.
To cite an entry click on the individual entry, the Citation Tool is now visible - it is the 'little pencil' to the right and above the entry that you wish to cite.
Oxford Reference Online is a suite of databases available electronically to CWU affiliated users. The entire suite of encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks and companion works can be accessed and searched from the "Databases by Title" link found on the library's homepage. The set of references covering the physical sciences and mathematics deal with statistics, weights, measurements, space exploration, scientists, chemistry, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics, and physics.
Cattrax is the online catalog that describes nearly all the materials held by the Brooks Library: books, government documents, maps, microforms, journals, and other items. Below is everything you might want to know about how to use Cattrax - but all you need to know to start searching is summarized in the numbered items and note directly below:
Using Cattrax to find an item in the Brooks Library:
1. Enter a search term – a word, a phrase, whatever – in the search box.
2. Use the drop-down menu to select whether you wish to do a keyword/word search, a title search, a subject search, an author search, or one of the other options. Click 'Search'.
3. Results that are 'relevant' to the search term that you used will be retrieved. Examine the results. Repeat steps 1 through 3 as needed.
*** Note: Information is often described in several different ways; you may need to try a variety of terms before you find ones that provide you with the information you are looking for. And spelling counts.***
More Information about Cattrax:
You can sort the results by 'relevance', date or by title, by clicking on those words below the Search Box.
Click on a title to see a detailed bibliographic record about that title. The ‘bib record’ will contain a variety of additional information about the book: the author, location, call number, often a summary, status, subject terms, etc. Any and all of that information can be important clues.
The ‘bib record’ will also have a link to a location map, two ways to send the information to your mobile phone, a citation tool, and will often have book cover images.
You can also save the ‘bib record’ to either ‘My Lists’ (requires you to use your ‘Library Log-in’) or you can ‘Save to Bag’ and remember to email, save, or print the resulting list of titles before you finish your session with Cattrax.
Once you have saved the useful results of your first search you can perform more searches – perhaps starting by opening the author link, the subject terms (towards the bottom of the ‘bib record’), or the 'Call #', in a new browser tab, or using the search box to start a totally new search using what you have learned so far from your search.
(Note: the books are in Call Number order on the shelves and clicking on the "Call #" will display a list of books in something like 'shelf order', which can help you find some good ideas for searching Cattrax. It is also a good idea to look on the shelves, discovery happens in many ways.)
When you finish your session with Cattrax remember to email, save, or print the ‘Save to Bag’ list of items that you found.
Additional Cattrax Information:
- Note: the “Request” service located in the upper left of a 'bib record' page is only available for Center Campus Students. This is because the Center Campus Students would need to use more than the stairs or the elevator to get the book from the Brooks Library. (If you are a Main Campus student wishing to check out a book in a Center Library please consult the Circulation Desk.)
- The ‘Modify Search’ link at the top of any Cattrax page is almost the same as the ‘Advanced Search’ option. The ‘Modify Search’ option is very useful for narrowing down your list of results. The "Limit/Sort Search" option is a way to narrow your Subject, Author, or Title search results.
- If you have the citation for an article you can select Journal/Serial Title to find out what kind of access (print/digital, which issues/years) we have to a particular journal. We often have access to a journal through more than one database. If you do not succeed in locating the journal or article that you need please consult one of our charming Brooks Library Librarians, or submit a request to our very resourceful Interlibrary Loan Department.
- If your professor said that something you needed to read was 'on Reserve' (the professor may have said 'in the library' or something else roughly equivalent) you can check our Reserved List by searching in Cattrax by course name or by the professor's name.
- Last, but certainly not least, if what you are looking for is not available in Cattrax try repeating your searches in Summit. Summit enables you to search the catalogs of 37 academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and request materials owned by those libraries; a courier service provides near-daily delivery of library materials here to Central Washington University.
- Summit Notes: There is usually a three to five day interval between your making a request and receiving the book, DVD, or other item. Summit is part of Worldcat. Each result will have a notation "Libraries that own this item:". Items owned by a Summit member library can be requested by clicking the purple 'Request Summit Item' button. Items owned by a Worldcat Library will need to be requested through Interlibrary Loan.
The book collection is shelved on the 3rd (A-J) and 4th (K-Z) floors of the main campus library and shelved by Library of Congress subject classification. The Government Documents, Maps, and Microforms are on the 3rd floor. The Music Library is on the 4th floor. Our physical journal, magazine, and serials collection is on the 2nd floor. DVDs, video tapes and films are on the 1st floor. Children's Books are on the 4th floor. Cattrax also contains links to a variety of e-books, and links to digital materials located elsewhere.
The Brooks Library has permanent access to 3037 digital books from the EBSCO eBook Collection. EBSCO eBooks are digital full-text versions of books in the areas of:
You can copy and paste from these ebooks, you can access them from off-campus, and you can save portions of them as a pdf.
Summit is the unified library catalog of 37 universities, colleges, and community colleges in the Pacific Northwest. Through Summit you have access to over 9.2 million distinct books, CD’s, DVD’s, and more (that the Summit unified collection is over 28.7 million items virtually assures you of access to a copy of what you want or need). The unified catalog enables you to find with a single search books and other items at any of the 37 member libraries.
(Note: It generally takes between three and five days for a physical item to be sent from one Summit Library to another so please plan ahead.)
In addition to Books, CD’s, DVD’s the Summit Catalog is also one of the many ways that you can locate useful journal articles. In order to find an article through Summit, type a keyword, a subject, or an article title in the Search Box near the top of the Summit page (an ‘Advanced Search’ is also available). Select the “Full text articles” box (next to the Search Box or on the left side of the page). The Results List will be initially sorted by ‘Library & Relevance’, but you can also sort by Author, Title, and Date. Click the title link of the article or the “View Now” or “View Full Text” link to see more of the article and then download a pdf of it. (You can also click “Find It @ Your Library”, select ‘Central Washington University’ and find out what access we have to that article here.)
If the article, book, DVD, CD, etc. that you wish or need to acquire appears to not be available through Summit please consult one of our talented Help Desk Librarians. It is quite possible that we have access to the article through one of our other databases, or that the book, article, etc., can be gotten through Interlibrary Loan.
WorldCat is an essential service run by the imaginatively named Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs.
WorldCat aspires to be a library catalog for the entire world; it contains all the records cataloged by the more than 72,000 OCLC member libraries around the world. WorldCat offers millions of bibliographic records and includes records in 400 languages.
The more than 179 million records cataloged by OCLC member libraries include books, manuscripts, websites and internet resources, maps, computer programs, musical scores, films, slides, videotapes, DVDs, newspapers, journals and magazines, sound recordings, articles, chapters, and papers. The dates covered in WorldCat range from before 1000 BCE to literally earlier today.
The Basic Search is useful when you know precisely what you are looking for. The Advanced Search is the default search and works well for most everyone. There is also an Expert Search available in which you can write your own Boolean Search Expressions.
Assistance is available from WorldCat at this link, and from Brooks Librarians at this link.
The World News (WN) Network was founded with the goal of being the most comprehensive, one-stop news resource on the Internet. Currently World News has over 130 million pages indexed covering news about, among many other topics, Film, Sport, Entertainment, Science, Business, Health and every Region on Earth.
World News Network presents news from more than 1000 reputable sources including mainstream providers (BBC, CNN, Reuters, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, etcetera) and more regional and local sources (The Independent, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Times of India, etcetera). This aggregation from other sites provides a wide variety of perspectives and different interpretations of breaking news events.
Information is available in two ways through the WN site. News links that open in a new tab go directly to the headlined article on its original site. Links that open in the same tab provide you with a link to the article on its original site, there are also links to the left and elsewhere on the page to information that helps you put the news article in context, as well as links to other version of the story or to related stories.
A scholarly, multi-disciplinary database containing more than 5,300 full-text periodicals, including 4,400 peer-reviewed, scholarly journals, and with indexing and abstracting for more than 9,300 journals. Academic Search Complete is an EBSCO database, and like most EBSCO databases it includes a "Choose Databases" link near the top of the page that enables you to search multiple EBSCO databases at the same time (an EBSCO multi-disciplinary database that is good to search at the same time as ASC is "MasterFILE Premier").
If the article whose title and abstract you found is not available in the Academic Search Complete database try clicking on "Search for Full Text". If that option does not provide you with the full-text of the article please consult a librarian or submit an Interlibrary Loan Request. Many articles are readily available in another database or through Interlibrary Loan and we are here to help you get the information you need!
The Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) provides this index of more than 27,000,000 of the articles published since 1990. The articles are from over 16,000 journals, covering nearly all fields of knowledge. The items indexed include every article, news story, letter, or other item listed on the table of contents page of the journal. This database also provides, for most items, a list of libraries that have the journal title – information that makes finding the article in the Brooks Library Collection, or through Interlibrary Loan, much easier.
Please ask the Reference Help Desk, on the 1st Floor of the Brooks Library, or at (509) 963-1021, for any assistance you might wish in searching this index or searching for citations found in the index.
Searchable Web database providing access to over 59 years of Mathematical Reviews and Current Mathematical Publications (from 1940 to the present).
The SPIN database (Searchable Physics Information Notices) provides the most current indexing and abstracting of major American and Russian physics and astronomy journals. SPIN contains the abstracts of over 80 scientific journals published by the American Institute of Physics and its Member Societies since 1975, as well as selected articles from other scientific journals, totaling close to 1 million articles. Scitation covers science and technology (particularly engineering) journals online portal sites, magazines, and conference proceedings. Select the "Scitation & SPIN" radio button prior to entering your search terms.
This is a citation / abstract database only. To search for the full text, you will need to type in the journal or book title into the Summit Catalog (see library homepage) to see if the item is at Central or to request the item Interlibrary Loan.
Index, abstracts, bibliographies, and cited references to articles from over 6,400 of the world's leading scholarly science and technical journals covering more than 150 disciplines.
Your portal to U.S. Government scientific and technical information and data "searches over 55 databases and over 2100 selected websites from 13 federal agencies." Now also available as Science.gov Mobile!
The Office of Science manages fundamental research programs in basic energy sciences, biological and environmental sciences, and computational science. In addition, the Office of Science is the Federal Government's largest single funder of materials and chemical sciences, and it supports unique and vital parts of U.S. research in climate change, geophysics, genomics, life sciences, and science education.
Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education. Mostly to help faculty in instruction practices.
Print Location: Ref QD 65 H3
Wide in scope, the handbook contains basic information for chemists and students alike. There are a number of conversion tables, information on the physical constants of organic and inorganic compounds, as well as other tables and diagrams on various states of matter. This 85th edition also includes a reprint of the 1st edition.
Print Location: Ref QC61 .F33 2001
A one-volume illustrated handbook which includes a glossary, biographies, a chronology, and a section of charts and tables.
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. MSDS's include information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures. These are of particular use if a spill or other accident occurs.
NASA paired up with Internet Archive to offer the public a searchable database of both historical and recent NASA images. Topics include early flight, women in flight, presidents, spacecraft, planets and the universe. the website functionality is impressive in its simplicity. Scroll over the timeline to select images by subject / year.
An international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science (earlier issues online), as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and supports programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide. AAAS also provides some career reosources that are of general interest.
The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The basic objective of the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science. The membership (~6,500) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. See also the International Astronomical Union at http://www.iau.org/
It is the mission of the Institute to serve physics, astronomy, and related fields of science and technology by serving its Member Societies and their associates, individual scientists, educators, R&D leaders, and the general public with programs, services and publications.
The APS has fourteen divisions and nine topical groups covering all areas of physics research. There are six forums that reflect the interest of its 43,000 members in broader issues, and eight sections organized by geographical region.
Aim is to advance the participation of girls and women in the sciences, from biomedicine to mathematics and the social sciences, in engineering, and in the technologies, in all areas and at all levels.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Its individual members are professional astronomers all over the World, at the Ph.D. level or beyond and active in professional research and education in astronomy. However, the IAU maintains friendly relations also with organizations that include amateur astronomers in their membership. National Members are generally those with a significant level of professional astronomy.
Nature Network is the online meeting place for you and fellow scientists to gather, talk and find out about the latest scientific news and events. Science is an international endeavor and deserves a global stage for discussion. Scientists can also benefit from interactions at the local level. That's why you'll see an increasing number of local city hubs on Nature Network, starting with Boston and London.
The PNNL is run by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy specializing in nanoscience, nanotechnology and nanoengineering. PNNL also does research in organic chemistry and atmospheric chemistry, among other areas of research.
The Planetary Society, the world's largest space-interest group, is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. Through our projects and publications, the Society plays a leading role in creating innovative coalitions to engage the public and fuel support for exploring other worlds.
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is the UK's leading professional body for astronomy & astrophysics, geophysics, solar and solar-terrestrial physics, and planetary sciences. The RAS organises scientific meetings, publishes research and review journals. The Society also awards grants and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports educational activities and lobbies government.
Extensive list of quotations, from Isaac Asimov to Einstein to Stephen Hawking to Mark Twain. Useful and amusing. Available online.
Book Index with Reviews™ (BIR) is a comprehensive database that provides information on over 5 million book titles. BIR also contains almost 800,000 full-text searchable book reviews from some of the most trusted reviewers: Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and the New York Times Book Review.
Fiction and non-fiction book titles are included in the database, in all genres, to help you find books to read for fun, for information, or for research. BIR’s subject headings/genres and flexible search engine can help you find out about popular titles that are currently available, along with those that will soon be published or released.
Extensive list of conversion factors from the Washington Department of Transportation.
A wealth of surveys, reports, and statistics on the sciences. Surveys describe the workforce and current educational trends in science.
Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education. Mostly to help faculty in instruction practices.
The astronomy educational community's contribution to the growing number of electronic repositories for student and teacher resources is 'AstronomyCenter.org'. Browsable topics include Astronomy Education, Cosmology, Fundamentals, Historical Astronomy, the Milky Way, Space Exploration, the Sun, Cosmic Time and Distance, Exoplanets, Instrumentation, the Solar System, and Stars. Type of material is also browsable: Pedagogy, Student Resources, Labs, Simulations, Projects, and Images. Any instructor of undergraduate astronomy courses should consider this as a source for labs, learning resources, demonstrations, classroom assessment activities, and articles on the teaching/learning process.
Preserves and makes known the history of modern physics and allied fields.
Explains the physics of everyday life. From the University of Virginia.
Links to hand-selected and evaluated Internet resources for students, lecturers, researchers in physics.
From the website: "NSDL was established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2000 as an online library which directs users to exemplary resources for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research. Access to most of the resources discovered through NSDL is free; however, some content providers may require a login, or a nominal fee or subscription to retrieve their specific resources." You can search for audio, video, interactive resources, data and full text articles.
Nature is a weekly journal of science.Nature.com contains subject areas on physics, along with sections on chemistry, life sciences, medicine, earth sciences and the environment. The website also includes podcasts of the Nature show and videos. Some of the information contained in here (journal articles, etc.) may have a full text option but are available only to subscribers of Nature.com. To access an article, try searching the CWU Library catalog and "Electronic Journals" webpage for journal titles to which CWU Library owns a subscription.
OAIster is a catalog more than 25 million records of open access digital resource. The Catalog was built by harvesting information from open access collections around the world The digital resources in OAIster include items such as digitized books and articles, born-digital texts, audio files, images, and movies.
The OAIster Catalog is searchable by title, author/creator, subject, language, keyword and several other forms of metadata. Searching in the OAIster Catalog is by Boolean Search (And, Or, Not). Like playing chess the best way to become good at boolean searching is to do a lot of boolean searching. Here are the 'basic moves' for searching the OAIster Catalog:
Combining the search terms 'Cat' and 'Dog' (Boolean)
Cat and Dog
Cat or Dog
Cat not Dog
Note: 'and', 'or', & 'not' are in drop-down boxes to the left of the search boxes.
Plurals, truncation, and wildcards
Use + for plurals (s and es)
Use * for truncation
Use # for a wildcard character
Use ?N for up to N characters
Adjacent terms (proximity)
Cat w Dog (Cat is followed by Dog)
Cat wN Dog (Cat is followed by Dog with at most N terms between)
Cat n Dog (Cat is next to Dog, either order)
Cat nN Dog (Cat is within N terms of Dog, either order)
The available Limiters are Year, Document Type, and Language. A Basic Search and an Expert Search interface is also available. You can also create an account that will enable you to save searches.
NOTE: Sometimes OAIster may direct you to items that are access restricted. The Librarians in the ARC or at any of the service desks can help you with accessing information that is ‘access restricted’ and with any questions that you might have.
Most major disciplines in these areas are well covered. Basic science resources are emphasized though there is much of an applied nature as well. Climatology (incl. climate change information), paleontology and environmental science information with a physical science leaning are included.
Describes the latest research and the people who are doing it and, if you want more, where to go on the web. Features include a writer's gallery of physicists' essays and a question and answer service about how things work.
Includes news, articles, and a comprehensive annotated index to on-line physics resources.
Searchable database with lots of links, including a database that provides citations to important articles, books, documents published before 1969.
COS Funding Opportunities has been replaced by COS PIVOT.
This database provides access to funding opportunities as well as scholar profiles, with the ability to add your own scholar profile and to view the profiles of various research organizations. PIVOT allows you to also prioritize and save your searches to receive weekly alerts.
You must register your own account and log in thereafter in order to use PIVOT. Registration and log in is in the upper righthand corner of screen.
Previous CWU users of COS Funding Opportunities may log in with their existing username and password, as the accounts have been transferred over into PIVOT.
NOTE: For some opportunities, sponsors accept only a limited number of proposals or applications from an institution, or require an institution to rank or prioritize applications before submission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research before applying if an opportunity is marked "Internal Coordination Required".
The Exploratorium, a science museum founded in 1969 by physicist Frank Oppenheimer, contains a number of science / art / human perception exhibits within the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts. The Exploratorium's website acts as both an exhibit space for sound and video webpages, and as an indexed megasite of award-winning web pages covering all areas of science.
"Queries range from the profound (Is it possible to travel through time?) to the everyday (How does a.microwave oven cook food?) and from the interesting (What illnesses do insects get?) to the surprising (How do whales sleep without drowning?"
= Restricted resource
= Some full text
= OpenURL enabled
= Video files
= Audio files
Librarian, Head of Cataloging
Tel: (509) 963-2120