Academic journals that contain easier material

August 11th, 2010 | Categories: general math | Tags:

Back when I was doing my own research (my field was photonic crystals), I read a lot of research articles in journals such as Physical Review B, Applied Optics and The Journal of the Optical Society of America B.  These journals represent the state of the art in their respective fields and if you are not a full time researcher then you will probably find many of their articles difficult to really get into.  When I say ‘really get into’ I mean ‘understand well enough that you could reproduce or develop their results if you wanted to’.

These days I am not a full-time researcher (although I do assist many of them on a regular basis) but I still like to read journal articles.  The type of journal I read, however, has changed rather a lot since I’m doing it for fun and personal interest rather than for my salary.  I sometimes take what I read in these articles and turn them into blog posts and/or Wolfram Demonstrations.

Here’s a list of some of my favourites

  • European Journal of Physics: According to their website “The primary mission of European Journal of Physics is to assist in maintaining and improving the standard of taught physics in universities and other institutes of higher education.”  There’s lots of cool stuff to be found with past articles including The Kaye effect, Mean Free Path in Soccer and Gases and Cooling and warming laws: an exact analytical solution
  • The College Mathematics Journal: According to their website “The College Mathematics Journal is designed to enhance classroom learning and stimulate thinking regarding undergraduate mathematics.”
  • The Mathematical Gazette: I could spend all day browsing through the archives of this one – it’s a math nerds dream.  For example, when you read an article written in 1894 with the title ‘Some old Text-Books‘ you know that they are going to be really old! It’s also fun to compare the ‘problems and solutions’ from 1900 to those from 2000.  From the website “The Mathematical Gazette is the original journal of the Mathematical Association and it is now over a century old”
  • Mathematics Magazine: I’ve had one or two ideas for Wolfram Demonstrations from this magazine.  From the website “Mathematics Magazine presents articles and notes on undergraduate mathematical topics”

What journals do you recommend for fun and/or teaching purposes in areas such as physics, mathematics and statistics?

Update The following are recommendations from readers in the comments section. Thanks to everyone who responded.  Feel free to let me know if your favourite isn’t on this list.

  1. August 11th, 2010 at 15:05
    Reply | Quote | #1

    The Kaye effect is really cool, the group i’m in also researched it:


    And you can actually really easily do it yourself with shampoo!

  2. August 11th, 2010 at 16:27
    Reply | Quote | #2

    I would add to your list The Mathematical Intelligencer and some articles from the Notices of the AMS.

  3. Pseudonym
    August 13th, 2010 at 08:23
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Journal of Recreational Mathematics. The title alone says all you need to know.

  4. August 14th, 2010 at 21:35
    Reply | Quote | #4
  5. Elio
    August 22nd, 2010 at 22:22
    Reply | Quote | #5

    Mathematical Spectrum it’s a great math magazine:

  6. Joplin
    August 27th, 2010 at 00:57
    Reply | Quote | #6

    Little bit off-topic.
    What’s your impression of the iPad as a reading device? I’m planning to buy one to read books, mags on pdfs, djvus etc.

  7. August 27th, 2010 at 10:57
    Reply | Quote | #7

    Hi Joplin

    My short answer is that it’s _mostly_ great and I use it all the time. A longer answer will wait for a future blog post I think.