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Physical Review  
Abbreviated title(s) Phys. Rev.
Discipline Physics
Language English
Edited by Gene D. Sprouse
Publication details
Publisher American Physical Society (United States)
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. Focus
  • 1998–present Phys. Rev. ST AB
  • 2005–present Phys. Rev. ST PER
  • 2008–present Physics

Physical Review (abbreviated as Phys. Rev.) is an American scientific journal founded in 1893 by Edward Nichols. It publishes original research and scientific and literature reviews on all aspects of physics. It is published by the American Physical Society. 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 G. S. Fulcher from 1913 to 1926, before relocating to the location of Editor John Torrence Tate[nb 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 John Buchta until Samuel Goudsmit and Simon Pasternak were appointed and the editorial office moved to the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on the east end of 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 street from BNL. Goudsmit retired in 1974 and Pasternack in the mid-1970s. B. Chalmers-Frazer was Managing Editor from 1974 until 1980, helped by Robert K. Adair and James Krumhansl. Past Editors-in-Chief include David Lazarus (1980—1990), from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Benjamin Bederson (1990—1996), from New York University, and Martin Blume (1996—2007), from BNL. The current Editor In Chief is Gene Sprouse from SUNY, Stony Brook.

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) . 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. The Special Topics journals are open access; Physics Education Research requires page charges from the authors, but Physical Review Special Topics: Accelerators and Beams does not. Though not open access, Physical Review Letters also requires an author page charge, although this is voluntary. The other journals require such a charge only if they are not prepared in one of the preferred formats. [2]

Recently, the APS launched a new publication entitled Physics,[3] aiming to help physicists and physics students to learn about new developments outside of their own subfield.

All of the journals of the APS are recognized internationally as among the best and well known in physics. Many of the most famous physics papers published in the 20th century have appeared in the pages of the Physical Review family of journals.


  • Physical Review Letters celebrated their 50th birthday in 2008.[4]
  • The APS announced that it has revised its copyright policy to permit the author to reuse parts of the published article in a derivative or new work, including on Wikipedia.[5]


Journal Abbreviation Editor Impact factor Published Scope ISSN Website
Physical Review Series I Phys. Rev. 1893–1912 All of Physics All volumes
Physical Review Series II Phys. Rev. 1913–1969 All of Physics All volumes
Physical Review Letters Phys. Rev. Lett. Gordon W. F. Drake 7.180 (2008) 1958–present Important fundamental research in all fields of physics ISSN 0031-9007 (print)
ISSN 1079-7114 (web)


Physical Review A Phys. Rev. A Jack Sandweiss
George Basbas
Reinhardt B. Schuhmann
2.908 (2008) 1970–present Atomic, molecular, and optical physics ISSN 1050-2947 (print)
ISSN 1094-1622 (web)


Physical Review B Phys. Rev. B Peter D. Adams
Anthony M. Begley
3.322 (2008) 1970–present Condensed matter and materials physics ISSN 1098-0121 (print)
ISSN 1550-235X (web)


Physical Review C Phys. Rev. C Benjamin F. Gibson 3.124 (2008) 1970–present Nuclear physics ISSN 0556-2813 (print)
ISSN 1089-490X (web)


Physical Review D Phys. Rev. D Erick J. Weinberg
D. L. Nordstrom
5.050 (2008) 1970–present Particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology ISSN 1550-7998 (print)
ISSN 1550-2368 (web)


Physical Review E Phys. Rev. E Gary S. Grest
Margaret Malloy
2.508 (2008) 1993–present Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics ISSN 1539-3755 (print)
ISSN 1550-2376 (web)


Physical Review Focus Phys. Rev. Focus David Ehrenstein 1998–present Selections from the Physical Review Journals ISSN 1539-0748 All volumes
Physical Review Special Topics: Accelerators and Beams Phys. Rev. ST AB Frank Zimmermann 1.551 (2008) 1998–present Particle accelerators and beams ISSN 1098-4402 (web) All volumes
Physical Review Special Topics: Physics Education Research Phys. Rev. ST PER Robert Beichner 1.781 (2008) 2005–present Physics education ISSN 1554-9178 (web) All volumes
Physics Physics David Voss 2008–present All of Physics ISSN 1943-2879 (web) All volumes

Notes and references

  1. ^ Not to be confused with his son, the number theorist John Torrence Tate Jr.

External links



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