Sir Isaac Newton
  Physics 496
  Communicating in Physics
  Spring 2024

link to course home page link to course syllabus link to lecture notes link to homework assignments link to writing workshop assignments link to tools and online resources link to Ms. Particular's micro-lectures on style and usage

Technical Writing and English Usage

The AIP Style Manual, 4th ed. (THE authority for physics papers)

Physical Review Style and Notation Guide (THE authority for the Phys. Rev. journals)

Chart of Proofreader's Marks (from AIP)

Oxford English Dictionary ("the definitive record of the English language" according to them, but note that US English spelling and usage may differ—we colonials have our own rules)

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Thesaurus (arbiter of US English spelling, even though they give "advisor" as an alternative spelling for "adviser," which Ms. Particular particularly deplores)

Acronym Finder

George L. Trigg's Advice for PRL Authors, Phys. Rev. Lett. 42, 747 (1979). [Bragging rights if you can explain why Professor Trigg's #12 is incorrect.]

Celia Elliott's Technical Writing Rules for Physics Students

Celia's FAQ on Tenses

Capitals and Acronyms in Physics (cme)

Writing Numbers in Technical Documents (cme)

Hyphens, Dashes, and Minus Signs (more than you ever wanted to know)

Not available online, but highly recommended for your library if you're serious about writing well:

The Elements of Style, William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, 4th ed. (New York, Longman, 2000).

Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryan A. Garner (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003).
Authoritative, comprehensive, and funny. Ms. Particular agrees with Garner about 98 percent of the time, but he is
occasionally wrong.

The Careful Writer, Theodore Bernstein (New York, Atheneum, 1965). Old but timeless.

The Synonym Finder, J.J. Rodale (Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Rodale Press, 1978). Some synonyms provided are too colloquial for scientific writing, but a good spur when you get stuck for exactly the right word.

TeX and LaTeX Resources

LaTeX wiki

"Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e" (109 pp)

Common (La)TeX Errors


TeX Users Group

LaTeX Project (includes a searchable "bugs" database)

Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (provides the most complete and up-to-date TeX-related software)

Visual Display of Quantitative Data

Graphing Resources (from North Carolina State University and the National Science Foundation)   "Revising your Visuals" is particularly useful


"Introduction to Refereeing" (from the Institute of Physics)

Citation Managers

Comparison of reference management software systems

Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

The Plagiarism Spectrum—comprehensive resource that defines the various degrees of plagiarism to help you avoid inadvertent plagiarism

A Student's Guide to Copyright and Fair Use

The Plagiarism Checker—free site to detect plagiarized text

Research Integrity

Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research for Physics Students—The Department of Physics' statement of its commitment to research integrity and ethical guidelines for beginning researchers