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Library Collections, Books & Serials

Picture of Robert Oppenheiner giving an address at the original NBL
J. Robert Oppenheimer speaking at the
dedication of the original Niels Bohr Library facility
in New York City, 1963.

The Library’s print holdings consist of approximately 14,000 titles.  At the Library’s core is a matchless collection of “primary” printed works of historical importance, including physical science monographs, textbooks, laboratory manuals, instrument catalogs, and published correspondence.  About two-thirds of the collection was published between 1850 and 1950. 

The collection also includes:

  • Runs of AIP/Member Society journals
  • Books and journals on the history of physics and allied sciences (astronomy, geophysics, etc.)
  • Biographies
  • Institutional histories
  • Philosophy of science
  • Social aspects of the scientific community

The strength and depth of our collection relies on generous donations from the physics and history of science community. All print holdings can be searched in our online book catalog. In addition to the author, title, and subject entries, you can search for scientific monographs and texts by year of publication. These and the Library’s other print holdings are non-circulating but are available to the public in our reading room.

The Library has a progressive conservation program, and it has microfilmed ca. 1,500 of its most valuable brittle books. Although the book collection itself is non-circulating, the microfilm copies of these brittle books are available for loan.

The Library staff will try to answer or guide inquirers to authoritative information on any historical question concerning physics and its allied sciences. Extended searches may be done on a fee basis, and photocopies can be made of some of our books that are not available elsewhere. For more information on doing research at the Niels Bohr Library & Archives, see Using the Library.

To research journal articles or request reprints from more than 100 journals from AIP and 17 other publishers, check AIP’s online journal database, Scitation.