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Physics Research: Find Background Info

Guidance and key resources for doing academic research in Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology.

Why background research helps

Getting background information and general facts about your topic is a good way to start your research. This not only helps you better understand your topic, but it also helps you formulate the boundaries of your research and key terms for your thesis statement.  It can be a helpful guide to begin to narrow down your topic into a coherent and specific area.
 

Credo Reference

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Credo is a library database containing digital versions of encyclopedias and other reference works. Think of it as an academic Wikipedia, only curated by librarians instead of the general public.

Finding Background Info in Books

College of Charleston libraries use the Library of Congress classification system to organize print materials, which means books on the same subject should be next to or near each other on the shelf. This information can be used to find books in person or via the Library Catalog.

Library of Congress call number ranges:

  • QB1-991  Astronomy
    • QB1-139  General
    • QB140-237  Practical and spherical astronomy
    • QB275-343  Geodesy
    • QB349-421  Theoretical astronomy and celestial mechanics
    • QB455-456  Astrogeology
    • QB460-466  Astrophysics
    • QB468-480  Non-optical methods of astronomy
    • QB495-903  Descriptive astronomy
      • QB500.5-785  Solar system
      • QB799-903  Stars
    • QB980-991  Cosmogony. Cosmology
  • QC1-999  Physics
    • QC1-75 Physics - general
    • QC81-114 Weights and measures
    • QC120-168.85 Descriptive and experimental mechanics
    • QC170-197 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter. Including molecular physics, relativity, quantum theory, and solid state physics
    • QC221-246 Acoustics. Sound
    • QC251-338.5 Heat
      • QC310.15-319 Thermodynamics
    • QC350-467 Optics. Light
      • QC450-467 Spectroscopy
    • QC474-496.9 Radiation physics (General)
    • QC501-766 Electricity and magnetism
      • QC501-(721) Electricity
        • QC669-675.8 Electromagnetic theory
        • QC676-678.6 Radio waves (Theory)
        • QC701-715.4 Electric discharge
        • QC717.6-718.8 Plasma physics. Ionized gases
      • QC750-766 Magnetism
    • QC770-798 Nuclear and particle physics. Atomic energy. Radioactivity
      • QC793-793.5 Elementary particle physics
      • QC794.95-798 Radioactivity and radioactive substances
    • QC801-809 Geophysics. Cosmic physics
    • QC811-849 Geomagnetism
    • QC851-999 Meteorology. Climatology Including the earth's atmosphere
      • QC974.5-976 Meteorological optics
      • QC980-999 Climatology and weather
        • QC994.95-999 Weather forecasting

Explore for yourself at Library of Congress classification system

Other Resources for Background Info