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Physics Collection

Sally Wyman
Physics Bibliographer

Collection Overview

The aim is to build a collection that  meets the needs and requirements of research and teaching faculty in the Physics Department, graduate (doctoral and master's) and undergraduate students, and the general interests of the Boston College community.

Research in the Physics Department revolves around two themes: theoretical and experimental.

Theoretical research covers plasma instabilities in lower dimensional solid state systems; nanostructures and quantum dots for ultrafast computing; collective phenomena at surfaces of solids; theory of high temperature superconductivity; Fermi liquid theory; strongly correlated electron systems; computational physics; theory of novel electron materials; quantum Hall effect; heavy fermion compounds; quantum magnetism and electronic transport in high magnetic fields; thermoelectric transport in novel semiconductor materials; theory of strongly coupled Coulomb systems; space and atmospheric physics, among other areas.

Experimental research covers scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy on novel electronic materials; strongly correlated electron systems; materials physics; single crystal growth, film deposition, and bulk processing of high temperature superconducting materials; processing and physics of giant magnetoresistive materials; synthesis and characterization of superhard materials; low temperature condensed matter physics; materials in strong magnetic fields, nanostructured superconductors, heavy fermion superconductors; thermoelectric materials; physics and chemistry of quasi one and quasi two dimensional electron systems; low temperature, high magnetic field electrical and magnetic properties of organic conductors and superconductors, anisotropic torque and magnetotransport measurements; commensurability resonances and spin density wave states; solid state spectroscopy of laser-type materials, luminescence spectroscopy, flash photolysis and molecular spectroscopy, photoacoustics, femtospectroscopy; optical properties of low-dimensional and organic semiconductors; modulation spectroscopy, among other areas.

Journals and conference proceedings constitute the bulk of our current collections strength. More and more of our journals are being made available electronically to our users. The general needs of our users in other areas of astronomy and physics are met at the undergraduate level.

Resource sharing in the form of membership in regional and national organizations like the Boston Library Consortium will increasingly play a signficant role in collection development.  As access  to  resources and document delivery become easier and faster due to advances in technology, we will depend more and more on interlibrary loan, facsimile transmission, purchase of articles, electronic and on-demand publication and retrieval, etc. Reference sources continue to be acquired for the BC Libraries as valuable research tools.

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Collection Parameters

Interdisciplinary Elements of  Subject  Area
Collection development for physics involves coordination with other disciplines in the School of Arts and Sciences and some programs in the School of Education. The interdisciplinary subjects include biophysics, energy, geophysics, history & philosophy of science, scientific biographies and waste management.

Formats and Types of Materials
Research journals and serials constitute the bulk of the collection. Advanced level monographs and some textbooks are also collected. Conference proceedings, technical reports, government documents, and dissertations are acquired as  needed.  A growing number of resources are becoming available in both print and electronic formats; decisions to collect in one or the other format (or both) are made on a title by title basis.

English is the language of choice. Materials in other languages are acquired only on specific request.

Geographic areas (subject  approach)
There is no geographic limitation in physics collection development.

Time periods (subject approach)
Current developments in physics are emphasized.

Dates of  Publication
Materials published recently are collected.  Older titles are acquired on demand.

As with selecting new titles for the Libraries’ collections, decisions to discard items are made within the context of the Libraries’ collection development policies. A properly weeded collection will have only material needed for current and future research and study at Boston College. While the needs of future researchers are often difficult to predict, efforts will be made to keep materials with lasting and potential value for academic programs at Boston College. Like new book and journal selection, careful and selective weeding will improve the quality of a collection and increase the probability that researchers will find useful material. The following criteria will be used to determine which materials to discard:

  • Superseded reference materials with no historical value.
  • Duplicate copies of little-used materials.
  • Outdated content without significant research value.
  • Materials in poor physical condition which cannot be saved for future use by any preservation method appropriate for its research value and need not be replaced.
  • Materials that do not support the University’s current and future teaching and research.

Subject Areas Collected by Library of Congress Classification Number
Quest Library Catalog can be searched by LC classification number to get a better idea of what specific titles the physics collection contains. For example, the Browse Search by Call Number (Library of Congress) for QC350 will produce the beginning of a list of works on optics in physics. This list can be browsed by selecting a record, then moving to "previous" or "next" in the list.

Call Number Description
QB 1-991  Astronomy
QB 460-466 Astrophysics 
QC 1-75 Physics. General.
QC 170-197 Atomic and Molecular Physics
QC 174-176 Statistical Physics
QC 175.3 Liquids and Kinetic Theory
QC 251-338.5 Heat
QC 310-319 Thermodynamics
QC 350-467 Optics, Light
QC 501-766 Electricity and Magnetism
QC 610-611.8 Semiconductors 
QC 711-718 Plasmas & Electric Discharges
QC 770-798 Nuclear & Particle Physics; Atomic Energy, Radioactivity
QC 811-849 Geomagnetism
QC 851-999 Meteorology, Climatology (including the earth's atmosphere)

Last Revised: April 20, 2005