AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVIII, No. 1, Spring 1996


Textbooks acquired by the Niels Bohr Library

The Niels Bohr Library has acquired the fourteen textbooks currently most recommended for undergraduate physics programs in the United States. The Library seeks to maintain a historical collection of all the major textbooks used in physics and allied sciences. Unlike nearly all other libraries, AIP seeks to have not only a current edition but a complete set of earlier editions for standard texts, to help scholars trace changes in understanding and teaching over time.

The titles for the currently popular texts were compiled from Graduate Programs in Physics, Astronomy and Related Fields, an annual publication of AIP. In the 1994-1995 edition, over 100 chairs of PhD-granting physics departments cited specific texts as the undergraduate preparation they assumed of students applying to their program. The list of most-recommended textbooks was developed by Christine Cassagnau of the AIP Education and Employment Statistics Division. The list will be mounted on the AIP World Wide Web Site and copies may also be obtained by contacting the AIP's Education and Employment Statistics Division, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740.

Most of the collection of the Niels Bohr Library is enlarged not by purchases but by gifts. Many collections received in recent years include large numbers of books which were never used in teaching, but were only sent by publishers on approval. As a result of the publication "explosion" since the 1960s there is not space for all physics books, and the staff are constantly seeking information on actual usage.

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AIP History Center Center for History of Physics
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