Physics, Journals of

Physics, Journals of


The first scientific journals appeared in 1665 in Great Britain and France: Philosophical Transactions (London, 1665–1886) and Journal des savants (Paris, 1665–1792 and since 1816). In 1670, the Leopoldina German Academy of Naturalists in Schweinfurt first published its transactions in Miscelanea curiosa medico-physica; Acta eruditorum (1682–1731) was issued in Leipzig. All these journals were of a general scientific nature and contained, in addition to papers on physics, works on other natural sciences. Journals of physics were first published when physical science societies and physics departments of academies of sciences and universities were organized. In the late 19th century, journals of general physics were divided into periodicals on various fields of physics.

Prerevolutionary Russia.Commentarii Academiae scientiarum imperialis petropolitanae, which was issued in Latin, was the first Russian periodical to publish treatises by academicians who were physicists.

Commentarii appeared under various titles between 1728 and 1806. Brief accounts of the treatises were published in Russian: Kratkoe opisanie kommentariev AN na 1726 g. (A Brief Description of the Treatises of the Academy of Sciences for 1726; part 1, St. Petersburg, 1728) and Soderzhanie uchenykh rassuzhdenii imperatorskoi Akademii nauk, izdannykh v 1 t. novykh kommentariev (Contents of the Scientific Discourses of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, Published in One Volume of New Treatises; four parts, St. Petersburg; 1748, 1750, 1752 and 1754). The first popular scientific publications of the Academy of Sciences continued the brief accounts in Russian: Ezhemesiachnye sochineniia kpol’ze i uveseleniiu sluzhashchie (Monthly Papers Serving Useful and Entertaining Purposes; vols. 1–6, St. Petersburg, 1755–57), Sochineniia i perevody k pol’ze i uveseleniiu sluzhashchei (Papers and Translations Serving Useful and Entertaining Purposes; vols. 7–16, St. Petersburg, 1758–62), and Ezhemesiachnye sochineniia i izvestiia o uchenykh delakh (Monthly Papers and News of Scholarly Matters; vols. 17–20, St. Petersburg, 1763–64). The monthly Akademicheskie izvestiia (Academic News; parts 1–8, St. Petersburg) was published between 1779 and 1781. Novye ezhemesiachnye sochineniia (New Monthly Papers; St Petersburg) was issued between 1786 and 1796. A journal devoted entirely to the natural sciences, Magazin natural’noi istorii, fiziki i khimii (Journal of Natural History, Physics, and Chemistry; Moscow, 1788–90), was one of 13 series of supplements to Moskovskie vedomosti (Moscow Gazette). Novyi magazin estestvennoi istorii, fiziki, khimii i svedenii ekonomicheskikh (New Journal of Natural History, Physics, Chemistry, and Economic Information; Moscow, 1820–30) carried translated articles from foreign journals, reports of new scientific discoveries, and book reviews.

The scientific transactions of Russian universities were first published in the 19th century. The University of Kharkov issued Ukrainskii zhurnal (Ukrainian Journal; 1824, parts 1–4, nos. 1–24; 1825, parts 5–8, nos. 1–20) and Trudy fiziko-khimicheskoi sektsii obshchestva opytnykh nauk pri imperatorskom Kharkovskom universitete (Transactions of the Physical Chemistry Section of the Society for the Experimental Sciences at the Imperial University of Kharkov; 1873–1916). Izvestiia fiziko-matematicheskogo obshchestva pri imperatorskom Kazanskom universitete (Proceedings of the Physical and Mathematical Society at the Imperial University of Kazan) appeared between 1880 and 1916. Beginning in 1880, Uchenye zapiski imperatorskogo Moskovskogo universiteta: Otdel fiziko-matematicheskii (Scholarly Transactions of the Imperial Moscow University: Physics and Methematics Department) was published in Moscow. Fiziko-matematicheskie nauki v ikh nastoiashchem i proshedshem (The Physical and Mathematical Sciences in Their Present and Past) appeared between 1885 and 1897. It featured reports on the work of academies and of scientific societies and congresses in physics, mathematics, and astronomy, as well as information about new discoveries and research in Russia and abroad, abstracts of new books and journal papers, and a bibliographic index of the current physics and mathematics literature. In 1899, the journal was reorganized as Fiziko-matematicheskie nauki v khode ikh razvitiia (The Physical and Mathematical Sciences in the Course of Their Development), which carried articles on the history of the development of the physical and mathematical sciences in Russia and abroad, papers on the methods of physics, and a bibliographic index. Vestnik opytnoi fiziki i elementarnoi matematiki (Journal of Experimental Physics and Elementary Mathematics) was published in Kiev between 1886 and 1916. The monthly scientific reference journal Spravochnaia knizhka po obshchei fizike A. A. Il’ina (A. A. Il’in’s Handbook on General Physics) was issued in Moscow in 1888 and 1889.

The Russian Physics Society at the University of St. Petersburg was founded in 1872. Zhurnal Russkogo Khimicheskogo obshchestva i Fizicheskogo obshchestva pri imperatorskom S-Peter-burgskom universitete (Journal of the Russian Chemical Society and the Physics Society at the Imperial University of St. Petersburg; St. Petersburg, 1873–78) became the official publication of the physics society. In 1879, after the merger of the physics and chemical societies, the journal was renamed Zhurnal Russkogo fiziko-khimicheskogo obshchestva (ZhRFKhO; Journal of the Russian Physical Chemistry Society). In 1907, the physics part of the journal became an independent publication, which was issued until 1931, when it was succeeded by Zhurnal eksperimental’noi i teoreticheskoi fiziki (Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics). A supplement to ZhRFKhO—Voprosy fiziki (Problems of Physics)—contained survey articles, abstracts, a bibliography of Russian and foreign papers on physics, and papers on laboratory practice; the supplement was first published in 1907.

ZhRFKhO became the leading Russian journal of physics and carried most of the papers by Russian physicists, as well as abstracts of papers published in other Russian journals and in foreign periodicals. In 1894, an academic journal of the physical and mathematical sciences, Zapiski imperatorskoi Akademii nauk: Fiziko-matematicheskoe otdelenie (Transactions of the Imperial Academy of Sciences: Physics and Mathematics Division) was founded.

The USSR. The vigorous development of the physical sciences in the initial years of Soviet power was reflected in an increase in the number of journals of physics. In 1918, Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk (Advances in Physical Sciences, published in English translation as Soviet Physics—Uspekhi), which features survey articles on all the most important achievements in physics throughout the world, was founded in Moscow as the successor to Voprosy fiziki. Zhurnal eksperimental’noi i teoreticheskoi fiziki (Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics; published in English translation as Soviet Physics—JETP) first appeared in 1931. A supplement, Pis’ma v Zhurnal eksperimental’noi i teoreticheskoi fiziki (Letters to the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics; published in English translation as JETP Letters), has been issued since 1965 to accelerate the publication of short communications on the most important achievements of Soviet physicists.

The first specialized journals of physics appeared in the 1930’s. Zhurnal tekhnicheskoi fiziki (Journal of Technical Physics; published in English translation as Soviet Physics—Technical Physics), which combined Zhurnal prikladnoi fiziki (Journal of Applied Physics; 1924–30) and Fizika i proizvodstvo (Physics and Production; 1929–30), has been published in Leningrad since 1931. Pis’ma v ZhTF (Letters to the Journal of Technical Physics; published in English translation as Soviet Technical Physics Letters) has appeared since 1975. Periodicals on general physics that have been published include Doklady AN SSSR, Seriia A: Doklady iz oblasti nauk matematicheskikh i estestvennykh (Reports of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Series A: Reports on the Mathematical and Natural Sciences; Moscow-Leningrad, 1922–33), Doklady AN SSSR: Novaia seriia (Reports of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: New Series; Moscow-Leningrad, since 1933), and Izvestiia AN SSSR: Seriia fizicheskaia (Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: Physics Series; Moscow, since 1936; published in English translation as Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: Physical Series). Papers on physics appearing in Doklady AN SSSR are published in English translation in Soviet Physics-Doklady. Short communications on Soviet achievements in the natural sciences were published simultaneously in English, French, and German in Comptes rendus de l’ Académie des Sciences de I’URSS (1933). Other journals in foreign languages have included Physikalische Zeitschrift der Sowjetunion (Kharkov-Moscow, 1932–38), Technical Physics of the USSR (Leningrad, 1934–38), and Journal of Physics (Moscow, 1939–47).

Advances in the development of physics in the USSR fostered the appearance in the 1950’s of specialized journals in virtually all areas of physics.

In addition to those listed above, the most important journals of physics published by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR are Akusticheskii zhurnal (Acoustics Journal; Moscow, since 1955 published in English translation as Soviet PhysicsAcoustics), Fizika metallov i metallovedenie (Physics of Metals and Metal Science; Sverdlovsk, since 1955; published in English translation as Physics of Metals and Metallography), Atomnaia energiia (Atomic Energy; Moscow, since 1956; published in English translation as Soviet Atomic Energy), Kristallografiia (Crystallography; Moscow, since 1956; published in English translation as Soviet PhysicsCrystallography), Optika i spektroskopiia (Optics and Spectroscopy; Leningrad, since 1956; published in English translation), Pribory i tekhnika eksperimenta (Instruments and Experimental Techniques; Moscow, since 1956), Fizika tverdogo tela (Solid State Physics; Leningrad, since 1959; published in English translation as Soviet PhysicsSolid State), Doklady AN SSSR: Seriia matematika i fizika (Reports of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: Mathematics and Physics Series; Moscow, since 1965; articles on physics published in English translation in Soviet Physics—Doklady), Nauchno-tekhnicheskie problemy goreniia i vzryva (Scientific and Technical Problems of Combustion and Detonation; Novosibirsk, since 1965), ladernaia fizika (Nuclear Physics; published in English translation as Soviet Journal of Nuclear Physics), Fizika i tekhnika poluprovodnikov (Semiconductor Physics and Technology; Leningrad, since 1967; published in English translation as Soviet PhysicsSemiconductors), Teoreticheskaia i matematicheskaia fizika (Theoretical and Mathematical Physics; Moscow, since 1969; published in English translation), Kvantovaia elektronika (Quantum Electronics; Moscow, since 1971; published in English translation as Soviet Journal of Quantum Electronics), and Fizika plazmy (Plasma Physics; Moscow, since 1975; published in English translation as Soviet Journal of Plasma Physics).

Universities and some physics research institutes publish specialized and general journals of physics. The journals with the highest circulations are Vestnik LGU: Fizika i Khimiia (Journal of Leningrad State University: Physics and Chemistry; Leningrad, since 1956), Izvestiia vuzov: Fizika (Proceedings of Higher Educational Institutions: Physics; Tomsk, since 1957; published in English translation as Soviet Physics Journal), Izvestiia vuzov: Radiofizika (Proceedings of Higher Eduational Institutions: Radiophysics; Gorky, since 1958; published in English translation as Radiophysics and Quantum Electronics), Vestnik MGU, Seriia 3: Fizika i Astronomiia (Journal of Moscow State University, Series 3: Physics and Astronomy; published in English translation as Moscow University Physics Bulletin), and Fizika elementarnykh chastits i atomnogo iadra (Elementary Particle and Nuclear Physics; Moscow, since 1970).

Periodicals of the academies of sciences of the Union republics also issue physics series. Virtually all such series are published in the language of the republic and in Russian. Some republics publish specialized journals on individual fields of physics. Examples include Zhurnal prikladnoi spektroskopii (Journal of Applied Spectroscopy; Minsk, since 1964), Inzhenerno-fizicheskii zhurnal (Journal of Engineering Physics; Minsk, since 1958; published in English translation), Magnitnaia gidrodinamika (Magnetohydro-dynamics; Riga, since 1965), Metallofizika (Metal Physics; Kiev, since 1965), and Fizika nizkikh temperatur (Low Temperature Physics; published in English as Soviet Journal of Low Temperature Physics). Proceedings in physics are also published in periodicals or transactions issued by universities, scientific research institutes, and educational institutes of the Union republics.

The most important Soviet journals of physics are reissued abroad in translation. As a guide to the published literature—both Soviet and foreign—on physics, the All-Union Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR has published the journal of abstracts Fizika (Physics) since 1954. Fizika is issued in cumulative volumes and individual fascicles.

Other countries. The oldest journal of physics, Annalen der Physik, began publication in Leipzig in 1790. Its international authority grew in the early 19th century, when J. C. Poggendorf became the editor. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the majority of the most important papers on physics were published in the journal.

The Philosophical Magazine, which was founded in 1798, is published in Great Britain. The title of the journal was changed several times. Since 1959, it has been called the Philosophical Magazine: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental, and Applied Physics of Condensed Matter.

Journals of physics appeared in many countries in the 19th century. Most of the journals were periodicals issued by physics societies and associations or the transactions of physics departments of academies and universities. In addition to general journals of physics, specialized journals on individual branches of physics appeared in the second half of the 19th century, first in Germany and later in the USA. In the same period, journals of physics that have become classics and that featured papers on virtually all branches of physics were founded in Great Britain, Italy, and the USA.

A list of the major journals of physics that began publication in the 19th century and that continue to publish follows.


Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien: Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse. Abt. IIa: Mathematik, Astronomic, Physik, Meteorologie und Mechanik (Vienna, 1888–1947): since 1947 called Acta physica Austriaca


Časopis pro pěstováni matematiky a fysiky (Prague, 1872–1951); from 1951 to 1971 called Československy časopis pro fysiku: Sekce A; since 1971 called Československy časopis profysiku


Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’ Académic des sciences. Ser. B: Sciences physiques (Paris, since 1835)

Journal de physique théorique et appliquée (Paris, 1872–1919); succeeded in 1920 by Journal de physique et le radium, which since 1963 has been called Journal de physique


Abhandlugen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin: Physikalisch-mathematische Klasse (Berlin, since 1804)

Saechsische Akademie der Wissenschaften; Mathematischnaturwissenschaftliche Klasse (Leipzig, since 1846)

Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Kristallgeometrie, Kristallphysik, Kristallchemie (Leipzig, since 1877)

Physikalische Zeitschrift (Leipzig, since 1899)

Great Britain

Proceedings of the Royal Society (London, since 1800); since 1905 the series devoted to the mathematical and physical sciences has been published separately

Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Section A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (Edinburgh, founded 1832); later called Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Mathematics)

Proceedings of the Physical Society (London, founded 1874); later published as the multiseries Journal of Physics, including A: General (1949–73; from 1973 to 1975 called A: Mathematical, Nuclear, and General’, since 1975 called A: Mathematical and General), B: Atomic and Molecular Physics (since 1949), C: Solid State Physics (since 1968), D: Applied Physics, since 1968; formerly the British Journal of Applied Physics), E: Scientific Instruments (since 1968), F: Metal Physics (since 1971), and G: Nuclear Physics (since 1975)

Philosophical Transactions [of the Royal Society of London]. Series A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (London, since 1887)

Nature (London, since 1869)


Società Italiana di Fisica: Nuovo Cimento (Pisa, since 1855)

Atti dell’Accadèmia delle Sciènze di Torino (Turin, since 1865)


Proceedings of the Physico-Mathematical Society of Japan (Tokyo, founded 1884); since 1964 called the Journal of the Physical Society of Japan

The Netherlands

Communications of the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory of the University of Leiden (Leiden, since 1885)


Journal of the Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, since 1826)

Science (New York-Washington, D.C., since 1883)

Physical Review (New York, 1893–1969); divided in 1970 into the following series: A (General Physics), B (Solid State), C (Nuclear Physics), and D (Particles and Fields)

The Astrophysical Journal (Chicago, since 1895)

Advances in theoretical physics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the discovery of the theory of relativity and quantum theory, and the broadening of the frontiers and methods of research led to the establishment of new general and specialized journals of physics. A list of the major journals of physics that were founded between 1910 and 1940 follows.


Canadian Journal of Physics/Journal Canadien de Physique (Ottawa, since 1929)


Chinese Journal of Physics (Shanghai, 1933–51); since 1951 called Acta Physica Sinica


Annales de Physique (Paris, since 1914)

Annales de l’ Institute Henri Poincaré (Paris, since 1930)


Naturwissenschaften (Berlin, since 1913)

Zeitschrift für Physik (Berlin, since 1919)

Great Britain

Spectrochimica Acta, parts A and B (London, founded 1939)

The Netherlands

Physica (Amsterdam, 1934–75); in 1975 divided into the following series: A: Theoretical and Statistical Physics, B: Low Temperature and Solid State Physics, and C: Atomic, Molecular, and Plasma Physics and Optics


Acta Physica Polonica (Warsaw, since 1932)


Helvetica Physica Acta (Basel, since 1928)


Journal of the Optical Society of America (New York, since 1917)

Reviews of Modern Physics (New York, since 1929)

Review of Scientific Instruments (New York, since 1930)

Journal of Applied Physics (New York, since 1931)

Beginning in the late 1940’s, as new branches of physics were established and new applications of physics were developed, journals of physics were issued in virtually every country. Advances in atomic and nuclear physics, achievements in the physics of the condensed state (that is, in solid-state, molecular, plasma, and radio physics), the invention of lasers, and thermonuclear research gave rise to a multitude of specialized journals of physics. For example, in 1961, 405 journals of physics published in 39 countries were abstracted in Physics Abstracts (see below).

A list of the most important physics journals that have appeared since 1945 follows.


Australian Journal of Physics (Melbourne, since 1948)


Nuclear Fusion (Vienna, since 1960)


Fiziko-matematichesko spisanie (Sofia, since 1958)


Canadian Journal of Spectroscopy (Montreal, since 1963)


Czechoslovak Journal of Physics (Prague, since 1951)

Federal Republic of Germany

Optik (Stuttgart, since 1949)

Communications in Mathematical Physics (Berlin-Heidelberg, since 1965)

Neues Optiker journal (Pforzheim, since 1959)


Physica Fennica (Helsinki, since 1966)


Optica Acta (Paris-London, since 1954)

Lasers et optique nonconventionnelle (Paris, since 1965)

Nouvelle revue d’optique appliquée (Paris, since 1970)

Revue de physique appliquée (Paris, since 1966)

German Democratic Republic

Fortschritte der Physik (Berlin, since 1953)

Physica status solidi (Berlin, since 1961)

Great Britain

Journal of Nuclear Energy (London 1959–74); from 1974 to 1975 called Annals of Nuclear Science and Engineering; since 1975 called Annals of Nuclear Energy

Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids (New York–Oxford, since 1956)

Journal of Fluid Mechanics (Cambridge, since 1956)

The International Journal of Applied Radiation and Isotopes (New York-Oxford, since 1956)

Advances in Physics (London, since 1952)

Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer (Oxford-New York, since 1961)

Infrared Physics (Oxford, since 1961)

Euronuclear (London, since 1964)

Journal of Plasma Physics (Cambridge, since 1967)

International Journal for Radiation Physics and Chemistry (Oxford, 1969–77); since 1977 called Radiation Physics and Chemistry

Particle Accelerators (London, since 1969)

Solid State Communications (New York-Oxford, since 1963)


Magyar fizikai folyóirat (Budapest, since 1953)


Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research (New Delhi, since 1942)

Indian Journal of Theoretical Physics (Calcutta, 1953–63; New Delhi, since 1963)

Indian Journal of Pure and Applied Physics (New Delhi, since 1963)


Lettere al Nuovo Cimento (Bologna, since 1969)

Supplemento del Nuovo Cimento (Bologna, 1949–69); since 1969 called La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento

Optica Spectrum Analysis (Milan, since 1957)


Progress of Theoretical Physics (Kyoto, since 1946)

Journal of the Spectroscopical Society of Japan (Tokyo, since 1951)

Japanese Journal of Applied Physics (Tokyo, since 1962)

The Netherlands

Nuclear Physics (Amsterdam, since 1956)

Physics Letters (Amsterdam, since 1962)

Optics Communications (Amsterdam, since 1969)


Postepy fizyki (Warsaw, since 1953)


Revue Roumaine de Physique (Bucharest, since 1956)


Physica Scripta (Stockholm, since 1970)


Zeitschrift für angewandte Mathematik und Physik (Basel, since 1950)

Laser und Elektro-Optik (Aarau, since 1969)


Applied Spectroscopy (Baltimore, since 1946)

Physics Today (New York, since 1948)

Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics (New York, since 1948)

Annals of Physics (New York, since 1957)

Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy (New York, since 1957)

Physical Review of Letters (New York, since 1958)

Transactions of the American Nuclear Society (La Grange Park, Ill., since 1958)

The Physics of Fluids (New York, since 1958)

Applied Physics Letters (New York, since 1962)

Applied Optics (New York, since 1962)

Laser Focus (Newton, Mass., since 1965)

Laser Report (Newton, Mass., since 1965)

Spectroscopy Letters (New York, since 1968)

International Journal of Theoretical Physics (New York, since 1968)

Journal of Low Temperature Physics (New York, since 1969)

General Relativity and Gravitation (New York, since 1970)

Foundations of Physics (New York–London, since 1970)

Fields and Quanta (London–New York, since 1970)

Particles and Nuclei (Athens, Ohio, since 1970)

IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics (Piscataway, N.J., since 1965)

IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (Piscataway, N.J., since 1966)

IEEE Transactions: Nuclear Science (Piscataway, N.J., since 1954)

IEEE Transactions: Plasma Science (Piscataway, N.J., since 1973)

West Berlin

Physik der Kondensierten Materie (Berlin, 1963–71); since 1971 continued as Zeitschrift für Physik. Section B: Quanta and Matter

Applied Physics (Berlin, since 1973)


Fizika (Zagreb, since 1969)

Journals of abstracts provide a guide to the current literature on physics. Such journals include Science Abstracts. Section A: Physics (London, since 1898), Nuclear Science Abstracts (Oak Ridge, Tenn., 1948–76; in 1976, the data base was incorporated into INIS Atomindex), INIS Atomindex (Vienna, since 1970; published by the International Nuclear Information System of the International Atomic Energy Agency), Physikalische Berichte (Berlin, since 1920), Technology Index for Plasma Physics Research and Fusion Reactors (Leopoldshafen, Federal Republic of Germany, since 1968), and Bulletin Signaletique (Paris, since 1940).


Lisovskii, N. M. Bibliografiia russkoi periodicheskoi pechati, 1703–1900. Petrograd, 1915.
Letopis’ periodicheskikh izdanii SSSR, 1966–1970, part 1. Moscow, 1972.
World List of Scientific Periodicals Published in the Years 1900–1960, 4th ed., vols. 1–3. Washington D.C., 1963–65.
World List of Scientific Periodicals Published in the Years 1960–1968. London, 1970.


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