Physical Review

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Physical Review  
Edited byMichael Thoennessen (Editor in Chief)
Publication details
Publication history
1893–1913 Series I
1913–1970 Series II
1970–present Series III
1970–present Phys. Rev. A, B, C, D
1993–present Phys. Rev. E
1998–present Phys. Rev. AB
2005–present Phys. Rev. PER
2008–present Physics
2011–present Phys. Rev. X
2014–present Phys. Rev. Applied
2016–present Phys. Rev. Fluids
2017–present Phys. Rev. Materials
Standard abbreviations
Phys. Rev.

Physical Review is an American peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1893 by Edward Nichols. It publishes original research as well as scientific and literature reviews on all aspects of physics. It is published by the American Physical Society (APS). The journal is in its third series, and is split in several sub-journals each covering a particular field of physics. It has a sister journal, Physical Review Letters, which publishes shorter articles of broader interest.


Physical Review commenced publication in July 1893, organized by Cornell University professor Edward Nichols and helped by the new president of Cornell, J. Gould Schurman. The journal was managed and edited at Cornell in upstate New York from 1893 to 1913 by Nichols, Ernest Merritt, and Frederick Bedell. The 33 volumes published during this time constitute Physical Review Series I.

The American Physical Society (APS), founded in 1899, took over its publication in 1913 and started Physical Review Series II. The journal remained at Cornell under editor-in-chief G. S. Fulcher from 1913 to 1926, before relocating to the location of editor John Torrence Tate, Sr.[note 1] at the University of Minnesota. In 1929, the APS started publishing Reviews of Modern Physics, a venue for longer review articles.

During the Great Depression, wealthy scientist Alfred Loomis anonymously paid the journal's fees for authors who could not afford them.[1]

After Tate's death in 1950, the journals were managed on an interim basis still in Minnesota by E. L. Hill and J. William Buchta until Samuel Goudsmit and Simon Pasternack were appointed and the editorial office moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory on Eastern Long Island, New York. In July 1958, the sister journal Physical Review Letters was introduced to publish short articles of particularly broad interest, initially edited by George L. Trigg, who remained as editor until 1988.

In 1970, Physical Review split into sub-journals Physical Review A, B, C, and D. A fifth member of the family, Physical Review E, was introduced in 1993 to a large part to accommodate the huge amount of new research in nonlinear dynamics. Combined, these constitute Physical Review Series III.

The editorial office moved in 1980 to its present location across the expressway from Brookhaven National Laboratory. Goudsmit retired in 1974 and Pasternack in the mid-1970s. Past Editors in Chief include David Lazarus (1980–1990; University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign), Benjamin Bederson (1990–1996; New York University), Martin Blume (1996–2007; Brookhaven National Laboratory), and Gene Sprouse (2007–2015; SUNY Stony Brook). The current Editor in Chief is Michael Thoennessen, whose term began in September 2017.[2]

To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the journal, a memoir was published jointly by the APS and AIP.[3]

In 1998, the first issue of Physical Review Special Topics: Accelerators and Beams was published, and in 2005, Physical Review Special Topics: Physics Education Research was launched. In January 2016 the names of both journals were changed to remove "Special Topics".[4] Physical Review also started an online magazine, Physical Review Focus, in 1998 to explain and provide historical context for selected articles from Physical Review and Physical Review Letters. This was merged into Physics in 2011. The Special Topics journals are open access; Physics Education Research requires page charges from the authors, but Accelerators and Beams does not. Though not fully open access, Physical Review Letters also requires an author page charge, although this is voluntary. The other journals require such a charge only if manuscripts are not prepared in one of the preferred formats.[5] Authors can pay extra charges to make their papers open access.[6] Such papers are published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (CC-BY).[7] Physical Review Letters celebrated their 50th birthday in 2008.[8] The APS has a copyright policy to permit the author to reuse parts of the published article in a derivative or new work, including on Wikipedia.[9]

The APS has an online publication entitled Physics,[10] aiming to help physicists and physics students to learn about new developments outside of their own subfield. This now includes the general-interest articles that appeared as Physical Review Focus. It also publishes Physical Review X,[11] an online-only open access journal. It is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes, as timely as possible, original research papers from all areas of pure, applied, and interdisciplinary physics. In 2014 Physical Review Applied[12] began publishing research across all aspects of experimental and theoretical applications of physics, including their interactions with other sciences, engineering, and industry. In 2016 the APS launched Physical Review Fluids "to include additional areas of fluid dynamics research",[13] and in 2017 it launched Physical Review Materials "to fill a gap" in the coverage of materials research.[14]


Journal ISO 4 abbreviation Editor(s) Impact factor (2016) Published Scope ISSN Website
Physical Review, Series I Phys. Rev. 1893–1912 All of Physics All volumes
Physical Review, Series II[note 2] Phys. Rev. 1913–1969 All of Physics Archive of All volumes
Physical Review Letters Phys. Rev. Lett. Hugues Chate
Reinhardt B. Schuhmann
Robert Garisto
Sami Mitra
8.462 1958–present Important fundamental research in all fields of physics ISSN 0031-9007 (print)
ISSN 1079-7114 (web)
Physical Review A[note 2] Phys. Rev. A Gordon W. F. Drake
Thomas Pattard
2.925 1970–present Atomic, molecular, and optical physics and quantum information ISSN 1050-2947 (print)
ISSN 1094-1622 (web)
Physical Review B[note 2] Phys. Rev. B Laurens W. Molenkamp
Anthony M. Begley
3.836 1970–present Condensed matter and materials physics ISSN 1098-0121 (print)
ISSN 1550-235X (web)
Physical Review C Phys. Rev. C Benjamin F. Gibson
Christopher Wesselborg
3.820 1970–present Nuclear physics ISSN 0556-2813 (print)
ISSN 1089-490X (web)
Physical Review D Phys. Rev. D Erick J. Weinberg
Urs Heller
4.506 1970–present Particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology ISSN 1550-7998 (print)
ISSN 1550-2368 (web)
Physical Review E Phys. Rev. E Eli Ben-Naim
Dirk Jan Bukman
2.366 1993–present Statistical, nonlinear, biological and soft matter physics ISSN 1539-3755 (print)
ISSN 1550-2376 (web)
Physical Review X Phys. Rev. X Cristina Marchetti
Jean-Michel Raimond
Ling Miao
12.789 2011–present "Broad subject coverage encouraging communication across related fields" ISSN 2160-3308 (web) All volumes
Physical Review Accelerators and Beams Phys. Rev. Accel. Beams Frank Zimmermann 1.444 1998–present Particle accelerators and beams ISSN 2469-9888 (web) All volumes
Physical Review Physics Education Research Phys. Rev. Phys. Ed. Res. Charles Henderson 2.083 2005–present Physics education research ISSN 2469-9896 (web) All volumes
Physics Physics Jessica Thomas 2008–present All of Physics ISSN 1943-2879 (web) All volumes
Physical Review Applied Phys. Rev. Appl. Stephan Forrest

Julie Kim-Zajonz

4.808 2014–present "All aspects of experimental and theoretical applications of physics" ISSN 2331-7019 (web) All volumes
Physical Review Fluids Phys. Rev. Fluids John Kim
L. Gary Leal
2.021 2016–present "Innovative research that will significantly advance the fundamental understanding of fluid dynamics" ISSN 2469-990X (web) All volumes
Physical Review Materials Phys. Rev. Mater. Chris Leighton 2017–present "high-quality original research in materials" ISSN 2475-9953 (web) All volumes
Physical Review Research Phys. Rev. Res. Jian-Wei Pan 2019–present "all research topics of interest to the physics community" ISSN 2643-1564 (web) All volumes


  1. ^ Not to be confused with his son, the number theorist John Torrence Tate Jr.
  2. ^ a b c Volumes 133-140 of the Series II in years 1964 and 1965 were split into issues A and B. Later they were unified into a single series again.[15] They are different from Phys. Rev. A and B of the third series. For example "Phys. Rev. 133 A1 (1964)" is an article of Ser. II, while "Phys. Rev. A 1 1 (1970) is of Phys. Rev. A.


  1. ^ Conant, Jennet (2002). Tuxedo Park. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-684-87287-2.
  2. ^ Voss, David (June 2017). "Michael Thoennessen Appointed New APS Editor in Chief". American Physical Society.
  3. ^ Hartman, Paul (1994). A Memoir on The Physical Review: A History of the First Hundred Years. New York: American Physical Society & American Institute of Physics. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-56396-282-0.
  4. ^ [1] Renaming the APS Special Topics Series, American Physical Society, December 31, 2015
  5. ^ "Submission guidelines". March 2008.
  6. ^ [2] APS Open Access announcement, American Physical Society, 15 February 2011
  7. ^ [3] Details of Creative Commons license
  8. ^ "Physical Review Letters Celebrates 50 Years". American Physical Society. 2014-02-13.
  9. ^ Gene D. Sprouse (1 October 2008). "APS now leaves copyright with authors for derivative works". American Physical Society.
  10. ^ "Physics". American Physical Society.
  11. ^ "Physical Review X". American Physical Society.
  12. ^ "Physical Review Applied". American Physical Society.
  13. ^ "Physical Review Fluids". American Physical Society.
  14. ^ "Physical Review Materials". American Physical Society.
  15. ^ "The Physical Review. Second Series. A". American Physical Society. 1964. "The Physical Review. Second Series. B". National Institute of Informatics. 1964. Retrieved 2016-12-28.

External links[edit]

Index of freely available volumes[edit]

The term of copyright on volumes published before 1924 has expired. Most of these volumes are available online for free in their entirety: