[Physics FAQ] - [Copyright]

(2018 Editor's note: this page is extremely out of date, and is currently being kept here for convenience only.)

Slightly updated 1995 by MW.
Original by Scott Chase.

Accessing and Using Online Physics Resources

Warning! The email addresses given here do not get checked and may be out of date.

Particle Physics Databases

The Full Listings of the Review of Particle Properties (RPP), as well as other particle physics databases, are accessible on line.  Here is a summary of the major ones, as described in the RPP:

SLAC Databases

Full listings of the RPP
Guide to particle physics preprints, journal articles, reports, theses, conference papers, etc.
Listing of past and future conferences in particle physics
Email addresses of many HEP people
Addresses of HEP institutions
Adjunct to HEP, indexes papers
Numerical data on reactions (cross sections, polarizations, etc)
Guide to current and past experiments

Anyone with a SLAC account can access these databases.  Alternately, most of us can access them via QSPIRES.  You can access QSPIRES via BITNET with the 'send' command ('tell','bsend', or other system-specific command) or by using email.  For example, send QSPIRES@SLACVM FIND TITLE Z0 will get you a search of HEP for all papers that reference the Z0 in the title.  By email, you would send the one line message "FIND TITLE Z0" with a blank subject line to qspires@slacvm.bitnet or qspires@vm.slac.stanford.edu.  QSPIRES is free.  Help can be obtained by mailing "HELP" to QSPIRES.

For more detailed information, see the RPP, p.I.12, or contact: Louise Addis at addis@slacvm.bitnet) or Harvey Galic at galic@slacvm.bitnet.

CERN Databases on ALICE

Library catalogue of books, preprints, reports, etc.
Subset of LIB containing preprints, CERN publications, and conference papers.
Subset of LIB containing upcoming and past conferences since 1986
Directory of Research Institutes in HEP, with addresses, fax, telex, email addresses, and info on research programs

ALICE can be accessed via DECNET or INTERNET.  It runs on the CERN library's VXLIB, alias ALICE.CERN.CH (IP#  Use Username ALICE (no password required.) Remote users with no access to the CERN Ethernet can use QALICE, similar to QSPIRES.  Send email to qalice@vxlib.cern.ch, put the query in the subject field and leave the message field blank.  For more information, send the subject "HELP" to QALICE or contact CERN Scientific Information Service, CERN, CH-1211 Geneva 23, Switzerland, or email malice@vxlib.cern.ch.

Regular weekly or monthly searches of the CERN databases can be arranged according to a personal search profile.  Contact David Dallman, CERN SIS (address above) or email callman@cernvm.cern.ch.

DIR is available in Filemaker PRO format for Macintosh.  Contact Wolfgang Simon isi@cernvm.cern.ch.

Particle Data Group Online Service

The Particle Data Group is maintaining a new user-friendly computer database of the Full Listings from the Review of Particle Properties.  Users may query by paper, particle, mass range, quantum numbers, or detector and can select specific properties or classes of properties like masses or decay parameters.  All other relevant information (e.g. footnotes and references) is included.  Complete instructions are available online.

The last complete update of the RPP database was a copy of the Full Listings from the Review of Particle Properties which was published as Physical Review D45, Part 2 (1 June 1992).  A subsequent update made on 27 April 1993 was complete for unstable mesons, less complete for the W, Z, D mesons, and stable baryons, and otherwise was unchanged from the 1992 version.

Login to: PDG_PUBLIC with password HEPDATA.

Contact: Gary S. Wagman, (510)486-6610.  Email: gswagman@lbl.gov

Other Databases

Durham-RAL and Serpukhov both maintain large databases containing Particle Properties, reaction data, experiments, email ID's, cross-section compilations (CS), etc.  Except for the Serpukhov CS, these databases overlap SPIRES at SLAC considerably, though they are not the same and may be more up to date.  For details, see the RPP, p.I.14, or contact: For Durham-RAL, Mike Whalley (mrw@ukacrl.bitnet,mrw@cernvm.bitnet) or Dick Roberts (rgr@ukacrl.bitnet).  For Serpukhov, contact Sergey Alekhin (alekhin@m9.ihep.su) or Vladimir Exhela (ezhela@m9.ihep.su).

Online Preprint Sources

There are a number of online sources of preprints:

algebraic geometry
condensed matter
functional analysis
email address database
computational and lattice physics
high energy physics phenomenological
high energy physics theoretical
high energy physics experimental
liquid crystals, optical materials
general relativity, quantum cosmology
nuclear physics theory
nonlinear science
Note that babbage.sissa.it also mirrors hep-ph, hep-th and gr-qc.

To get things if you know the preprint number, send a message to the appropriate address with subject header "get (preprint number)" and no message body.  If you don't know the preprint number, or want to get preprints regularly, or want other information, send a message with subject header "help" and no message body.

On the Web, some of these preprint archive databases are accessible at http://xxx.lanl.gov.

The following GOPHER servers that are concerned with physics are currently running on the Internet.  They mainly provide a full-text indexed archive to the preprint mailing lists:

    xyz.lanl.gov, port 70                (LANL Nonlinear Sciences)
    mentor.lanl.gov,70                   ('traditional' preprint lists)
    babbage.sissa.it,70                  ('traditional' preprint lists)
    physinfo.uni-augsburg.de,70          (all lists, but only abstracts) 

Mailing Lists

In addition to the preprint services already described, there are several mailing lists that allow one to regularly receive material via email.  To get a long list of many of them, send mail to listserv@listserv.net with the following command in the text (not the subject) of your message:

          LISTS global
To subscribe, send mail to listserv@listserv.net with the following command in the text (not the subject) of your message:
  SUBSCRIBE <listname> <your first name> <your last name>
where <listname> is the name of the list.  Example:

Here are a few of the physics-related lists:

    ACC-PHYS        Preprint server for Accelerator Physics        
    ALPHA-L         L3 Alpha physics block analysis diagram group
    ASTRO-PH        Preprint server for Astrophysics
    FUSION          Redistribution of sci.physics.fusion
    OPTICS-L        Optics Newsletter
    PHYS-L          Forum for Physics Teachers
    PHYS-STU        Physics Student Discussion List
    PHYSHARE        Sharing resources for high school physics
    PHYSIC-L        Physics List
    PHYSICS         Physics Discussion
    POLYMER         Polymer-related discussions and announcements
    POLYMERP        Polymer Physics discussions
    SPACE           sci.space.tech Digest
    SUP-COND        SuperConductivity List
    WKSPHYS         Workshop Physics List
The AIP runs several mailing lists.  The server is listserv@aip.org.  Leave the subject line blank, and send text of "help" and "longindex" on separate lines for a general help file and description of the mailing lists.  Three mailing lists are
a digest of physics news items arising from physics meetings, physics journals, newspapers and magazines, and other news sources.  Physics News Update appears approximately once a week.
summarizes information on resources, national initiatives, outreach programs, grants, professional development opportunities, and publications related to physics and science education.  It is issued twice a month.
summarizes science policy developments in Washington affecting the physics and astronomy community.  It is issued between two and five times every week.
To add yourself to a mailing list, send the command
                add <address> <listname>
in the text of a message to the server.  Example: add user@aip.org fyi

The World Wide Web

There is a wealth of information, on all sorts of topics, available on the World Wide Web [WWW], a distributed HyperText system (a network of documents connected by links which can be activated electronically).  Subject matter includes some physics areas such as High Energy Physics, Astrophysics abstracts, and Space Science, but also includes such diverse subjects as bioscience, music, and the law.

How to get to the Web

If you have no clue what WWW is, you can go over the Internet with telnet to info.cern.ch (no login required) which brings you to the WWW Home Page at CERN.  You are now using the simple line mode browser.  To move around the Web, enter the number given after an item.

Browsing the Web

If you have a WWW browser up and running, you can move around more easily.  The by far nicest way of "browsing" through WWW uses the x-terminal based tool "XMosaic".  Binaries for many platforms (ready for use) and sources are available via anonymous FTP from ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in directory Web/xmosaic.  The general FTP repository for browser software is info.cern.ch (including a hypertext browser/editor for NeXTStep 3.0)

For Further Information

For questions related to WWW, try consulting the WWW-FAQ: Its most recent version is available via anonymous FTP on rtfm.mit.edu in /pub/usenet/news.answers/www-faq , or on WWW at http://www.vuw.ac.nz:80/non-local/gnat/www-faq.html

The official contact (in fact the midwife of the World Wide Web) is Tim Berners-Lee, timbl@info.cern.ch. For general matters on WWW, try www-request@info.cern.ch or Robert Cailliau (responsible for the "physics" content of the Web, cailliau@cernnext.cern.ch).

A list of useful web resources for physics has been compiled on another page.

Other Archive Sites

AIP Archives

An archive of the electronic newsletters of the American Institute of Physics is now available on nic.hep.net.  The three publications are "For Your Information", "The Physics News Update" written by Dr Phil Schewe, and "What's New" written by Dr Robert Park.

In each case, the last issue received is always available as: latest.txt.

Nonlinear Dynamics

There is an FTP archive site of preprints and programs for nonlinear dynamics, signal processing, and related subjects on node lyapunov.ucsd.edu ( at the Institute for Nonlinear Science, UCSD.  Just login anonymously, using your host id as your password.  Contact Matt Kennel (mbk@inls1.ucsd.edu) for more information.

Physics Education Online

Mailing Lists

    PHYS-L           PHYS-L@UWF        Forum for Physics Teachers
    PHYS-STU         PHYS-STU@UWF      Physics Student Discussion List