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Astronomy, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Physics for the Nonscientist: Articles, Books, & Magazines

Resources for nonscience majors taking a course in physics, astronomy, and/or geology.

Electronic Information Sources: Books, Journals, Reference Works

Here are a few core ebook resources. If you want to know what we have more broadly, please search the Orbis Catalog. Once you have searched for your topic, see the facets on the right-hand side of the screen (in the blue box). The filter for Online Books and Serials limits to electronic-format works only. Adding the Books filter will remove e-journals from the results.

For archaeoastronomy, please also look at the History of Science links in the box to the left of this one.

Some search tips:

  • Non-western astronomy is often called "cultural astronomy" in addition to archaeoastronomy, as some of these cultural traditions still exist.
  • If you are looking for resources coming from a specific cultural experience, I recommend locating the area (i.e., East Asia, Africa) in the subject guides and using the one that fits most closely with your region of interest. Some examples of databases include the Index Islamacus and the Bibliography of Asian Studies. You can search our databases here.
  • If you need print resources, please visit the Research Tips! tab and select the section on Subject Headings at the Yale Library. This is one of the best ways to see a complete list of the print resources available within your topic area, and the screenshot examples for using Subject Headings draw from a topic of interest to archaeoastronomy researchers.

Newspapers and Magazines

If you want electronic access to New Scientist, we have several different options. The full record for electronic access (including the date ranges) is here. With all of our electronic options, coverage begins in 2002. It is important to note that none of the electronic options includes images from New Scientist. Please consult a print copy location (listed below) for a complete article reading experience.

Second, we have access to New Scientist issues in print at the locations listed at the following ORBIS URL. I've included information below on the year coverage present at all of the locations.

  • Marx Science and Social Science Library: Current issues on library display shelves; older issues (back to 1971) available in the stacks on the lower level with call number Q1 N48+ Oversize.
  • Offsite storage (request in Orbis):

Please note that Scan and Deliver is always an option for print periodicals.

Boolean It!

Boolean searching allows you to customize how you search for things in academic databases, and it's based on a few key pieces of syntax: AND, OR, NOT, (), and "". 


A Venn diagram showing that our search will only return results that have both terms in them.

When you put two terms into an academic database, AND is usually implied: You usually want both words in fluid inclusions to appear in your search results. You could just as easily write:

fluid AND inclusions

OR and ""

A Venn diagram showing that all results with either word will be in the results.

But let's say that I want to find something about extrasolar planets. However, there was a terminology change around 2007, after which people started using the term exoplanets. If I want articles from both eras, I can do the following:

exoplanets OR "extrasolar planets"

What this tells my database is that I don't care which term appears in the results. I just want one of them. In addition, I want extrasolar planets to be searched as a phrase. (This also works in Google with song lyrics.)


A search for things about women in STEM without any false positives for clinical trials.

What if I'm looking for women in STEM (science, engineering, mathematics, and technology) fields, though? Try it. You'll see a lot of resources on stem cells. This is where the NOT operator is helpful:

women stem NOT cell NOT "clinical trial" NOT "stem cells"

Of course, Google and Google Scholar work differently. Instead of NOT, use a - to make it look like this:

women stem -cell -"clinical trial" -"stem cells"

Everything and ()

Or, of course, we could do this with everything (and here parentheses signify order of operations):

women AND ("stem" OR science) NOT cell NOT "stem cells"