Internet resources: Miscellaneous

The resources below are loosely grouped by category. However, this grouping is inevitably rough. Some resources may be listed in more than one place. Others probably should be. Look around!
Colleges and universities (local, and beyond)
Of local interest... (San Francisco Bay Area)

Art & Music (Chinese, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish) + New 6/26/23.
Books + New 4/19/24.
Mathematics; statistics (French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish)
Science: News, Discussion forums, General (Chinese, French, Spanish)
Science: History

General reference
Bottom of page; return links, contact information

Some sections that used to be on this page have been moved. Remember that all pages of Internet Resources can be accessed from the page List of pages of Internet resources.
If a language is listed above, in red, it means that one or more items in that language is listed. (Some of these items may be multilingual. These sites usually have a button near the top or bottom of the page to let you switch from one language to another.)

I am happy to receive contributions to consider for this page. However, I should emphasize that I want this to be fairly short but diverse. If you send me a long list of sites to list, I will probably just ignore the whole list. I'd rather hear about one site of some special interest -- and I am more likely to check one suggested site than many.

Please let me know if you find an improper link, and I will try to fix it.

Links to external sites will open in a new window.

Colleges and universities (local, and beyond)

The home page for the University of California at Berkeley is

News Center for the Berkeley campus:
Calendar of Events:
Music Department Calendar:

For an introduction to the UC libraries, see my page on Library matters. Major topic areas here include: UC Berkeley library; electronic journals; journal articles; PubMed (Medline) searches; citation searches.

Online publications from UC Berkeley highlighting research and other university activities include...
* Lab Notes, from the College of Engineering:

A UC Berkeley student publication dealing with science issues. Published once per semester and distributed free on campus. Back files are available online.
* Berkeley Science Review. Discusses work going on at Berkeley.

The two local national laboratories associated with UC Berkeley:

* Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Lots of stuff. Among things you might look at are the News Center, available from the home page (near bottom right), and the Research Review Magazine, at An earlier publication, Science Beat, includes a memorial to Glenn Seaborg; it is now available in their news archive at The Research Review Magazine for Fall 2001 features nanotechnology; the first article includes STM images of atoms.

* Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Science & Technology Review, a magazine from the LLNL about work at the Lab. It is available from their home page (above), or directly: Mail subscriptions are also available, free.


A list of San Francisco Bay Area Colleges and Universities. Includes community colleges, Cal State and UC campuses, and private colleges.

Wikipedia also has a page leading to lists of colleges and universities around the world. Lists of universities and colleges by country.

Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) -- a list of the "top 500" universities in the world, based on their graduate programs: The site includes lists by field. There are many lists of universities by one or another ranking; caution should be used with any such list. Nevertheless, this one, from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has a world perspective and a good reputation.
* The ARWU site is also noted in the Musings post Science in Asia-Pacific region -- as ranked by Nature (April 13, 2010).
* The Wikipedia page about this site has a lot of information, and could be a good place to start: OpenCourseWare, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT has decided to offer most of its course materials on the web, with free access. Look around; the contents vary widely, from a few handouts to almost complete textbooks. The site is expected to grow.

   top of page

Of local interest... (San Francisco Bay Area) Visit the world's finest science museum, famous for its informal and interactive exhibits. Several exhibits are online (mostly involving visual effects). Better yet, why not just go over there in person?

One of the Bay Area's more famous residents has her own web site, at -- or is it www.koko.gor? (Koko herself died in 2018. The project and web site live on.) A site about earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Links to maps showing local earthquake predictions. From ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments.

For a world view of earthquake hazards, see the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program, from the Swiss Seismological Service.

And for a log of what has already happened, see, from the US Geological Service. This page leads to a list of the most recent earthquakes in the world, "near real time". A central source of information for all public transit around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Information about local libraries in the Berkeley area is at: Local Public Libraries (Berkeley area) section of the Library Matters page.

   top of page

Art & Music

Topics include (in order shown, with direct links to some along the way): Timeline; Pictures at an Exhibition; The Seasons: the poems; Historic recordings (Johannes Brahms at the piano; restoration technology); Ancient instruments; Extending the reach of the Beethoven symphonies; The Bruckner symphonies; A Chronology of the Symphony 1730-2005; Instrument ranges; Longevity; Names of the Keys in French, German, Italian, and Spanish; Pipe organs (Largest; corrosion; Videos of famous organists); Stravinsky; CD technology; Oxford Music Online; Science (Borodin; Herschel; medicine in the arts; Scientific music); Books about music and science/math.

Thanks to MAM & GJP who, probably unwittingly, are behind me starting this section.

Some posts in my Musings newsletter relate to art and music, sometimes with a science connection. Some of these are noted below in context. Here is a sampling of others:
* Added June 26, 2023. Beethoven's genome (June 26, 2023).
* Production of aerosols by the winds of the Philadelphia Orchestra (October 24, 2022).
* Briefly noted... The salt content of great 18th century violins from Cremona (March 16, 2022).
* Treating epilepsy with Mozart (December 4, 2021).
* Beethoven's metronome confusion (March 1, 2021).
* Oldest known picture of a pig (February 21, 2021).
* What is folium? (July 7, 2020).
* Briefly noted... Beethoven's dream (January 8, 2020). One of the special features in the 150th anniversary issue of the scientific journal Nature.
* Could we repel mosquitoes by playing loud music they don't like? (May 18, 2019).
* Revealing the alabaster sources of ancient artists (March 7, 2018).
* The oldest known dog leash? (January 23, 2018).
* A look at Chopin's heart (January 9, 2018).
* Musical dissonance: is it innate? (October 31, 2016).
* Death by bagpipe (September 13, 2016).
* The man who established the (US) National Academy of Sciences (February 12, 2016).
* Bob Dylan and biomedical research (January 20, 2016).
* Could vibration (or loud music) improve the performance of a solar cell? (December 11, 2013).
* What to do with old floppy disk drives (October 15, 2013).
* Quantum gravity: the musical version (September 25, 2013).
* Stanford Linear Accelerator recovers 18th century musical score (June 22, 2013).
* Better violins through better fungi? (March 4, 2013).
* Alan Turing -- and the music of Iamus (November 14, 2012).
* Images from 30,000-year-old motion pictures (July 22, 2012).
* Baseball and violins (May 15, 2012).
* Spiders and violins (May 4, 2012).
* Identifying whale songs: You can help (January 4, 2012).
* Vox Balaenae (January 4, 2012).
* Leopard horses (December 2, 2011).
* Should the music industry use MRI scans to predict the success of new songs? (June 28, 2011).
* Tracking new songs as they cross the Pacific (June 21, 2011).
* Petri dish art (May 11, 2011).
* Music-making technology -- for the physically disabled (April 23, 2011).
* Playing music can make you sick (July 31, 2010).
* Why are musical instruments featured on the cover of EID? (June 7, 2010).
* The sounds of vegetables (March 31, 2010).
* Lesbian necrophiliacs (March 8, 2010).
* Neurobiology lesson (Bobby McFerrin) (December 21, 2009).
* Lux aeterna: Mushrooms; Mozart (December 7, 2009)
* The smallest violin (November 16, 2009).
* Using music to control a machine (October 17, 2009).
* Vanessa-Mae music; follow-up (June 25, 2009).
* Visualizing music (June 18, 2009). Bach.
* Tesla coils -- music (May 31, 2009). Bach -- and more.

* * * * *

Timeline. Greg Pearce's personal synopsis of the history of classical music: If you have any suggestions for additions to the sparser regions of his lower figure, drop him an e-mail. (Greg is the primary author of the ChemFormula macro, to assist with formatting chemical expressions in Microsoft Word: ChemFormula.)

* * * * *

Pictures at an Exhibition. The music may be familiar, whether from Mussorgsky's original piano work or the famous orchestration by Ravel. But what about the pictures themselves? This site is a collection of many of Viktor Hartmann's paintings, including several that are the basis of "Pictures". Among them is Hartmann's imagined view of the Great Gate of Kiev. It is quite remarkable how the grandeur of this non-existent gate (it never was built) grew as the mantle of its artistic expression passed from Hartmann to Mussorgsky to Ravel. The Wikipedia page for the work now includes the relevant surviving pictures. It also includes a list of arrangements of Pictures for various ensembles... about 80 of them at this writing.

* * * * *

The Seasons: the poems. Once again, the music is familiar. Vivaldi's set of violin concerti celebrating the annual cycle is one of the most popular pieces of music around. Yet few know that the music is accompanied by poems (sonnets), probably written by Vivaldi himself. There is no reason to believe that Vivaldi intended the poems to be included in a performance of the music, but they are included on at least one recording, and they do offer some insight. The poems, in both Italian and English, are at:

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

Historic recordings

Johannes Brahms at the piano. One of the very first music recordings (and certainly one of the oldest that survives) was made by an associate of Thomas Alva Edison in 1889. It includes Brahms playing an excerpt from one of his Hungarian Dances. The sound quality at this point is poor, but it is a serious project to try to de-noise it, using analysis of the digitized version of the recording. Jonathan Berger, of the Historical Recordings Project at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, is responsible for much of this work. His web page discusses the recording and its restoration, includes links to "wav" files of the recording as they got it plus several attempts to de-noise it, and a link to a detailed article about the recording.

The home page for the CCRMA: From there, you might choose Research, then Research Groups, then Historical Recordings Project. The small collection of "Resources" on their Historical Recordings page gives links to some other excellent sites.

The "wav" files at the CCRMA site above are often 3-5 Mb. There are some smaller versions available. For some of these smaller files, see:
* The Brahms files are at the bottom of the page. From Igor Popovic, Yale Computational Mathematics.
* wav and MP3 files. The premise of this site is that the voice on the recording is that of Brahms. This is unlikely, as explained by Berger. But that uncertainty has no implication for using this site as a source of the music files. (This is an archive of a site that is no longer maintained.)

* * * * *

Restoration by IRENE and friends. Another approach to reading old recordings is being pursued at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, by Carl Haber and Vitaliy Fadeyev. They analyze the surface by optical means, and then convert the optical scans to sound files. (Remember that phonograph recordings of the Edison type were normally played back with mechanical reading, by the phonograph "needle".) Their web site, the Sound Reproduction R & D Home Page, is Irene? IRENE = Image, Reconstruct, Erase, Noise, Etc. IRENE is one specific project within this broader framework of optical analysis of sound recordings. The web site includes scientific papers on the work.

Carl Haber, one of the scientists of that project, has been awarded a MacArthur grant. Berkeley Lab Scientist Named MacArthur "Genius" Fellow for Audio Preservation Research. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, September 24, 2013.)

More about this work, mostly from the popular press:

* From the US National Park Service -- the Thomas Edison National Historical Park (May 2011): Early Talking Doll Recording Discovered. Here they announce playing a recording made by the Edison company in 1888 for use in a talking doll. This recording would seem to represent the first commercial recording. The cylinder was too bent to be read by a regular playback device, but could be read by the optical method. The page here includes a link to the audio file.

This item was also featured in a Musings post: Restoration of old sound recordings (July 23, 2011).

* By Christine Chen, in the UC Berkeley student newspaper Daily Cal (April 2008): Scientists Restore Earliest Known Sound Recording. (Now archived.) A fascinating story, which made many of the popular news media. Lawrence Berkeley scientists, using technology of the IRENE type, "played back" a recording from 1860 -- 17 years before Edison's first recordings. The recording had been made by marking a soot-covered piece of paper; so far as we know, it had never before been played back. The recording technique was invented by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville -- but he did not have any way to play the recordings back.

* For more about this work, see the story by David Perlman, of the San Francisco Chronicle: Physicists convert first known sound recording (March 2008). There is a link to a sound file at the end of the article.

* By Jessica Kwong, in the Daily Cal (August 2007): Lawrence Lab's New Cure for Lost Voices. (Now archived.)
* By Keay Davidson, in the San Francisco Chronicle (July 2004): Digitizing the voices of the past - Science perfects sound of century-old recordings.

Another role for recovery of old data... see the news story: Pre-eruption seismograms recovered for 1980 Mount St. Helens event. (Science Daily (Seismological Society of America), January 30, 2020.) The analysis so far has not yielded any great insights into the eruption. At least for now, it is mainly an interesting historical story -- and part of a feature section on Historical Seismograms in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

A recording of Edison reading poetry is the basis of a Musings post: Thomas Alva Edison reads poetry (July 23, 2009).

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

Ancient instruments

From historic recordings it is perhaps the logical next step here to go to ancient instruments.

An archeological expedition in Ireland has uncovered a set of tuned wooden pipes -- 4100 years old. They suspect these were part of a musical instrument. Here is an article by archeologist Margaret Gowen, 4000 Year-old Music? Unique prehistoric musical instrument discovered in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, May 17, 2004. (This copy of the article is at the web site of the Portuguese Bagpipe Society. It includes a sample of the sounds from these pipes.)

* * * * *

Chinese researchers have discovered ancient flutes in excavations at Jiahu (Henan Province); some are intact and playable. The site has been dated using carbon-14 as being nearly 9000 years old; thus these flutes currently stand as the oldest playable musical instruments. The following link is to a press release from Brookhaven National Lab (a collaborator on the project, along with Chinese labs); it includes a picture of these ancient flutes and links to music files of them being played. Brookhaven Lab Expert Helps Date Flute Thought to be Oldest Playable Musical Instrument. Bone flute found in China at 9,000-year-old Neolithic site. September 22, 1999.

This work was published: J Zhang et al, Oldest playable musical instruments found at Jiahu early Neolithic site in China. Nature 401:366, 9/23/99.
* The abstract is freely available:
* A file of spoken "commentary", in Chinese, and a music file are freely available under supplementary information: The commentary is item 2, the music file is item 3. (The file names that light up when you move the cursor over the links are helpful, but the files sizes stated are wrong.)

* * * * *

Stone-age flutes. Also at: archive. A news story highlighting the discovery of fragments of 35,000 year old flutes. The site contains a short clip of playing a replica of one of these. (See "Multimedia", at the left a few lines below the main figure near top.)

This story is presented more fully in the Musings post: A new flute -- 35,000 years old (July 1, 2009).

* * * * *

Neandertal flutes? A leg bone from a bear, found among Neandertal artifacts dated as 43,000-82,000 years old, has been interpreted as being part of a flute. The key evidence is the spacing of four holes, which can be interpreted in terms of universally pleasing musical scales. The following page, from Canadian musicologist Bob Fink, makes the case that the holey bone is the remains of an ancient flute -- the oldest known musical instrument. "Neanderthal Flute. Oldest Musical Instrument's 4 Notes Matches 4 of Do, Re, Mi Scale": (now archived).

The two items above are about old flutes. There is controversy about many such discoveries. In particular, there is controversy about the claim that the Neandertal bone with holes in it is really a work of man. My sense is that the experts still debate this. So, it is one thing to note the discovery as interesting and that it might be a Neandertal relic; however, I do not have the expertise to judge the debate. If this really interests you, go read the details.

Update November 2019... There is a Wikipedia page on this Neandertal flute. It includes a range of views, and updated information -- but no clear resolution. Divje Babe Flute (Wikipedia).

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

Extending the reach of the Beethoven symphonies.

"Today his symphonies are universally regarded as masterpieces. ... I shall be satisfied if I have fulfilled the duty of an intelligent engraver, a conscientious translator, who grasp the spirit of a work along with the letter, and who thus help to spread the understanding of the masters and the appreciation of the beautiful." The words of Franz Liszt, from the preface to his set of transcriptions for solo piano of all the Beethoven symphonies, 1865. (As translated from the French by Leslie Howard, and printed in the liner notes for Howard's recording of the complete set, Vol 22 of Howard's Liszt series for Hyperion.) This was, of course, long before the days of recordings, and Liszt's goal (in these and his many other transcriptions) was to be able to bring more music to smaller communities that lacked full orchestras.

I learned of these transcriptions only recently, and approached them with considerable trepidation and skepticism. The Beethoven symphonies are so powerful and complex, how could one possibly do justice to them with only one piano? Surely the results would be disappointing, a particular problem with these familiar works. On the other hand, Liszt was a distinguished pianist and composer, and is well known for piano transcriptions of many works. Maybe. I started cautiously, with Scherbakov's recording of the Eroica (see below). A minute into that recording -- or was it only 20 seconds? -- I was convinced. This was the Eroica, the familiar Eroica, now in a new form. Has anything since dampened my enthusiasm for these works? Not much. The biggest disappointment is the Finale of the Ninth, but this is not exactly a surprise. Liszt long argued that he could not properly do this movement with only one piano. In the end, he compromised -- and did it omitting most of the vocal parts. Apparently, Liszt hoped that his piano version of the Ninth would be done with vocalists along with the piano. So far as I know, this has never been done, and indeed there is some emptiness in this piano work. But that is a small complaint in the big picture.

It's important to realize that these are serious works. They are not watered down transcriptions so that amateur pianists can play their own Beethoven symphonies. And they are not Liszt. They are faithful transcriptions of the Beethoven scores, done by an expert transcriptionist and virtuoso pianist, retaining the spirit and much of the letter of the originals. At worst, they are magnificent Beethoven piano sonatas ("super-sonatas", some have called them). But they will inevitably be compared with the familiar symphonies; I think they stand up well.

Among the recordings of these transcriptions are a complete set by Leslie Howard, on Hyperion, and a set in progress by Konstantin Scherbakov, on Naxos. I have mentioned both of these above. The former seems to be available only as the complete set, so if you want to make a small step, the Scherbakov set has the advantage that you can buy a single CD. In fact, the one most really available seems to be a CD of the 1st and 3rd (Eroica) symphonies.

Here are two web sites that will introduce you to these transcriptions. Both are reviews of Scherbakov recordings, but I intend them not to endorse any particular performances but as commentary on the set.
Comment... One of those reviews states a preference for the acoustics of the hall used for the Howard recordings. I am inclined to disagree; I found the sound of the Scherbakov recording cleaner, and preferable. A small point, a matter of taste.

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

The Bruckner symphonies. The Several Versions of Bruckner's Symphonies (a synopsis), by Jose Oscar Marques. Information on the various editions and revisions, and on available recordings. Also in Portuguese.

* * * * *

A Chronology of the Symphony 1730-2005. By Kyle Gann (Bard College), originally for a course he was teaching on the symphony. It's basically a list of symphonies, with dates -- over nearly three centuries.

* * * * *

Instrument ranges. The following site shows the range of notes for many of the common instruments. (now archived).

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

Longevity. The subject of long-lived composers came up in a discussion. Many know that Mozart and Schubert died in their 30s (and Pergolesi and Arriaga died even younger). But what about the other end of the spectrum? My first guess at the longest lived composer was Joaquin Rodrigo, who died in 1999 at age 97. However, more recently, I have learned about the Russian-American composer Leo Ornstein, who died in 2002 at age 108. He had been actively composing at age 97. The first work of his I heard was a brief piano work. It was quite unusual, quite radical; fascinating, perhaps even enjoyable. A site maintained by the Ornstein family: The site includes audio tracks. There is also a Wikipedia page for him.

The American composer Elliott Carter was born in December 1908. In December 2008 he celebrated his one hundredth birthday -- and was still composing.
* The Wikipedia article on Carter includes a list of his works -- continuing through 2012, a few months before his death.
* A news story about the New York concert on his 100th birthday, with the composer in attendance. D J Wakin, Turning 100 at Carnegie Hall, With New Notes, December 11, 2008. Also at: archive. This item links to a review of the concert.

Carter's longevity is the subject of a post in my Musings newsletter: Elliott Carter: 100th birthday (December 23, 2008).

Does anyone know of other centenarian composers?

* * * * *

Names of the Keys in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. From the Yale University Music Library; now archived.

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

Pipe organs

A list of some of the largest pipe organs in the world: There are pictures of some of them. This page is part of a larger site on organs, with an emphasis on big theater organs; it seems to consist of a wide variety of pages maintained by different people. Lots of variety, not much organization; fortunately much of the content is interesting and of high quality.

* * * * *

Videos of famous organists. Watching an organist can be as exciting as listening -- though we often do not get a good view at a live performance. Now, video clips are appearing on sources such as Youtube, offering a glimpse of the artistry -- and showmanship -- of some of the greats of yesteryear. Here is a sampling. You can find more, from the listings of "related videos" that will appear, or by using their search function.
* Pierre Cochereau, long time organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and known for his improvisations. Here is "Toccata".
* Virgil Fox, of the Riverside Church in New York City. Here is Bach's Gigue Fugue. Recommended by Greg Pearce, in the UK.
More? Well, this started by me listing one item -- and I immediately got a recommendation of another. So I adjusted the format to accommodate that. I'll consider adding more, but only one per organist. It is unlikely that I will bump any items already listed, but I'll try any contributions. Decision of the site owner is final!

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page


Video of Stravinsky conducting The Firebird (complete, 32 minutes):

* * * * *

CD technology. The CD-recordable FAQ, maintained by Andy McFadden, at Also in French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, Turkish.

* * * * *

Oxford Music Online. Major reference work. Online at Requires a subscription, but some libraries subscribe. Those using a UC Berkeley computer have access. This new Oxford resource includes and supercedes the famous Grove music dictionaries.

* * * * *

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page

Science. Connections between science and art or music.

What kind of music do cats prefer? They prefer music written for cats. That's according to a recent scientific article. Why would someone study cat-specific music, you wonder? Actually, for a very good reason. The work was done in the context of a veterinary clinic, to see what kind of music would lead to the cats behaving better during medical examinations or treatments.
* News story: The 'purrfect' music for calming cats. ( (from Sage, the journal publisher), February 24, 2020.) Links to the article, in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery; it is freely available. It also links to the music (YouTube; 18 minutes). Suggest.. Listen to it with a cat, to increase the chance that someone likes it. Remember, it wasn't written for you.

Borodin. There is little doubt that the most famous person to make a significant mark both as a scientist and as a composer was the 19th century Russian chemist-composer Alexander Borodin. For a nice introduction to Borodin's dual career: Interestingly, the article also notes that the well-known composer Edward Elgar tinkered a bit with chemistry.

For those who want to explore the chemist side of the composer of Prince Igor... M D Gordin, Facing the music: How original was Borodin's chemistry? J Chemical Education 83:561, 4/06. This article also provides some insight into the science of the era. It is listed as Further Reading in the Ch 10 handout (Aldehydes and ketones) for Organic/Biochemistry. Organic/Biochemistry handouts.

* * * * *

Uranus Uranus, the first planet to be discovered in the age of telescopes. It was discovered in 1781 by William Herschel -- whose first career was as a musician (organist and composer). Most articles about Herschel only briefly mention his earlier career. The Wikipedia article is typical: I have heard a few of his works, symphonies and solo organ works; they seem to be pleasant if not very exciting.

The Inimitable Caroline, an article by J D Fernie. It focuses on Herschel's sister, but is a good overview of both William and Caroline, and their dual lives as musicians and astronomers. American Scientist 95:486, 11/07.

For a nice little book about the Herschels, see my page of Book suggestions.

The image of Uranus was taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, and can be seen on the NASA page:

A Musings post about the Voyager missions: At the edge of the solar system (September 28, 2012).

A Musings post about Herschel's discovery of Uranus, with an excerpt from his original paper: The first report of a new planet (March 13, 2011).

* * * * *

"The Literature, Arts & Medicine Database is an annotated multimedia listing of prose, poetry, film, video and art that was developed to be a dynamic, accessible, comprehensive resource for teaching and research in Medical Humanities, and for use in health/pre-health, graduate and undergraduate liberal arts and social science settings". From New York University School of Medicine. I have also listed this item under Medicine: other.

* * * * *

Scientific music. From time to time people develop ways to visualize chemical or biological phenomena through music. A couple of examples...

The internal 'orchestra' of the earth. The vibrations of the earth -- re-scaled to be audible. From John Bullitt. His web site: includes some sound samples. His "Press" section includes a Boston Globe newspaper article with the title I used here.

Molecular Music. From biochemist and musician Dr Linda Long. See her FAQ for info on how it is done. (This is actually a commercial site, but some short free samples are available. I post this merely for fun. Go try some "Music for muscle and bone", or whatever.)

π. Make sure your sound is "on". Also listed in the Mathematics; statistics section.

On my BITN Resources page, Miscellaneous topics, there is a section for Art. Most of the items there deal with artistic aspects of DNA.

* * * * *

Books about music and science/math.

My page Books: Suggestions for general science reading lists some books in this area. They include, in order by publication date:
* Hazen, Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything (2019).
* Maor, Music by the Numbers -- From Pythagoras to Schoenberg (2018).
* Lemonick, The Georgian Star -- How William and Caroline Herschel revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos (2009).
* Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of music and the brain (2007).

   top of "Art & Music" section       top of page


Books for specific subjects may be found in appropriate sections of this page, such as Mathematics; statistics or Physics. Also see: Biology: books and glossaries, Medicine: books and reference materials, Microbiology: books, Chemistry: Textbooks online (includes biochemistry), and pages for individual courses.

For some suggested books for general reading on a range of science topics, see my page Books: Suggestions for general science reading.

To find a library that has a book you want, try WorldCat. They claim "Over 1 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide".

For information on buying books online, see my Buying books page.

Textbooks. Lists of textbooks that are freely available online. A wide range of subject areas, science and more.
* Open Textbook Library. Maintained at the University of Minnesota.

The following sites have books online -- books that you can read free on your computer screen. Of course, copyright restrictions limit what can be made available free, but many classic books are available.

Great Books Online. Sections of this broad collection include Reference, Verse, Fiction, and Non-fiction. Look for works by Aristotle, Einstein, Shakespeare -- and many more. Reference books include Gray's Anatomy and the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing. "The ESP site is dedicated to the electronic publishing of scientific and other scholarly materials. Of particular interest are the history of science, genetics, computational biology, and genome research." Scroll down to "Digital Books" for complete copies of some of Darwin's books (among others). (This site is also listed for the Molecular Biology course, Ch 1 as a source of classic papers in genetics, as well as the books.)

The On-Line Books Page: Book Listings. Includes over 25,000 items.

The Million Book Project; they are not done yet, but much is available.

UC Press has made many of their older books available online. (Apparently, some are available to the public, but some are not.) Part of the California Digital Library.

Google Books. Some books can be downloaded, as pdf files.

The National Academy Press, publishing books and reports from institutions such as the US National Academy of Sciences. These books often represent expert scientific analyses of scientific issues of public policy concern. Over 2500 books -- available to be read online or purchased in print.

PubMed Bookshelf. Searchable full text versions of some textbooks in the biomedical sciences. Books include the Alberts et al and Lodish et al textbooks in molecular and cell biology, the Stryer (Berg et al) biochemistry book, the Cooper cell biology book, and the Griffiths et al genetics book. This is from the National Center for Biotechnology, and is part of the PubMed (Medline) system. More books are being added. (If you are already at the PubMed site, choose Books.)

Free books for doctors: A collection of online medical books. It's quite a collection -- basic and specialized! The emphasis is clearly medical, but there is a useful supply of books in the basic sciences, including biochemistry, genetics, and microbiology. The extensive list of medical topics includes such things as sports medicine and travel medicine; check the "Topics" list. Books in several languages are listed. Also, click on Journals, and you will get a list of medical journals that are available online; some of the major medical journals release their files for free access a few months after publication. This site is also listed for Internet resources for biology -- Medicine: books and reference materials. (Thanks to Gunjan Gala, Mumbai University, for recommending this site.)

Internet Archive: Books. The site famous for the Wayback Machine also collects book, 4,864,741 of them (April 2024). Access rules vary; many can be read online, but not downloaded. Still, it is quite a collection. Added April 19, 2024.

   top of page

Mathematics; statistics

Posts in my Musings newsletter on these topics, more broadly including data presentation and analysis as well as math in non-human animals, include:
* Do bees count left-to-right? (January 3, 2023).
* Cauliflower math (July 26, 2021).
* Zero? Do bees understand? (July 20, 2018).
* Was there a significant slowdown in global warming in the previous decade? (May 30, 2017).
* What does a p value mean? Statisticians make a statement (August 6, 2016).
* How graphs can mislead (May 24, 2015).
* Small numbers to the left? Chickens may agree (February 17, 2015).
* Pi (November 10, 2014).
* Monkey math (June 1, 2014).
* More on the story of p (March 2, 2014).
* Multiplication tables, bamboo, 2300 years old (January 13, 2014).
* Should τ replace π? (July 1, 2011). With music.
* On the Evolution of Calculation Abilities (June 20, 2011).
* The traveling bumblebee problem (January 11, 2011).
* Hexaflexagon -- make one for yourself, to honor Martin Gardner (July 26, 2010).
* Mission Improbable (November 10, 2009).

My page Books: Suggestions for general science reading lists some books in this area. They include, in order by publication date:
* Orlin, Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the Ideas That Shape Our Reality (2018).
* Maor, Music by the Numbers -- From Pythagoras to Schoenberg (2018).
* Hayes, Foolproof -- and other mathematical meditations (2017).
* Clegg, Are numbers real? The uncanny relationship of mathematics and the physical world (2016).
* Gardner, Undiluted Hocus-Pocus -- The Autobiography of Martin Gardner (2013).
* Wheelan, Naked Statistics -- Stripping the dread from the data (2013).
* Devlin, The Man of Numbers -- Fibonacci's arithmetic revolution (2011).
* Stewart, The Mathematics of Life (2011).
* Blastland & Dilnot, The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (2008).
* Fadiman (ed), Fantasia Mathematica -- Being a set of stories, together with a group of oddments and diversions, all drawn from the universe of mathematics (1958). Includes: A Subway named Moebius, a 1950 short story by A J Deutsch.

Graph paper. The following two sites are among several available which provide you templates for graph paper of various types. Different sites use different approaches (allowing you to specify graph line spacing; providing pdf files of a range of graph papers; providing programs you can download and use to make your own).
* Regular grid paper only, but you can design your own grid.
* A wide range of pdf files available, for regular grid paper, as well as log papers and more.

Collections of math formulas:
* NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions -- a digital version of the Handbook of Mathematical Functions.
* Geometry Formulas and Facts:
* Equation World: The World of Mathematical Equations: Emphasizes calculus (differential equations, integrals). Also in French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish.

Stan Brown includes links to many math resources useful to students, as well as his own page on Trig without Tears.

The following sites allow you to do a variety of statistical calculations online, and offer explanatory material. The first two include an online statistics textbook.

The following site is a statistics site oriented toward engineering. It does link to some software.

The following site is the FAQ for the newsgroup, by Darrell Ryan. That newsgroup was long a good place for students to ask basic math questions, and the FAQ discusses how to post, how to clearly write math expressions in simple text format -- and also answers some math questions. (The old newsgroup has largely been superseded by other resources, but the FAQ page remains useful.)

Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics. From Jeff Miller, Gulf High School, New Port Richey, Florida.

π. Make sure your sound is "on". Also listed in the Art & Music section -- Science.

   top of page


The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Richard Feynman's classic physics book, co-authored with Robert B Leighton and Matthew Sands, is now available on the web. For those who want the story of how this fully corrected web edition came to be, see the preface by Kip Thorne:

Useful information, with a physics emphasis:

My page Books: Suggestions for general science reading lists some books in this area. They include, in order by year of publication:
* Perkowitz, Physics: A Very Short Introduction (2019).
* Ananthaswamy, Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality (2018).
* Czerski, Storm in a Teacup -- The physics of everyday life (2017).
* Durrani & Kalaugher, Furry Logic -- The physics of animal life (2016).
* Dusenberry, Living at micro scale -- The unexpected physics of being small (2009).

This list was started January 2020. It may be incomplete for older books.

   top of page

Science: News, Discussion forums, General

For information on searching the scientific literature, finding electronic journals, etc, see my page Library matters.


Most of the sites listed here are broad-based news sites. Some of them take press releases from the institutions where work was done, and post them with only slight changes. These sites are very good for just broad awareness. and its spin-off Medical Xpress. and

Science Daily.

Daily science news, from the journal Nature.

EurekAlert!. From their "About us": "EurekAlert! is an online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society [publishers of Science magazine]. EurekAlert! provides a central place through which universities, medical centers, journals, government agencies, corporations and other organizations engaged in research can bring their news to the media. EurekAlert! also offers its news and resources to the public. EurekAlert! features news and resources focused on all areas of science, medicine and technology."

Eureka! Science News. A collection of daily science news from a range of sources.

The two items above, with similar names, are not related.

CIDRAP -- the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (University of Minnesota). A site specializing in infectious diseases. It includes a news section; you can sign up for a daily e-mail. I list CIDRAP on my page Biotechnology in the News (BITN) in the section Emerging diseases. It is also listed for some specific diseases.

NSF. The US National Science Foundation offers many options for reading its diverse news stories, including a daily e-mail digest.

Discussion forums

Reddit. Reddit is perhaps a successor to the old Usenet, but operating entirely on the web (that is, with a web browser interface). It contains diverse autonomous groups (called subreddits), each with its own character.

One good place to start for someone interested in chemistry or molecular biology is the Biochemistry subreddit. Aside from its own content, it has a nice list of related groups in the sidebar, and a FAQ full of information for students. (Those features are available only from the "old" reddit URL, given there. You can also go directly to the FAQ, at

Teachers may be interested in the subreddit of that name, which links to a range of more specialized subreddits, including ScienceTeachers.

How do you find a subreddit on a topic of interest? There is no easy general way. (There is no list you can browse, as far as I know.) You can use a regular search engine, searching on reddit plus subject terms of your choice. You can also use the Reddit function for searching for subreddits -- if you can find it.

There is a list of science subreddits. It is apparently maintained by hand, so is not guaranteed to be complete. However, it looks useful.

"Old" Reddit? Reddit introduced a new design in 2018, but some people find some aspects of the old design easier to use. You can edit any Reddit URL and switch between the two reddits as you wish. www for new; old for the old Reddit. I have given all URLs here to old Reddit. (The URL given above for the biochemistry subreddit has both "old" and "new" in it. The "new" at the end refers to how the posts are sorted -- newest first.)

Social media. Science has spawned its own social network sites. How useful are they? How are they used? The news arm of Nature magazine addresses this in the following "news feature": R Van Noorden, Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network -- Giant academic social networks have taken off to a degree that no one expected even a few years ago. A Nature survey explores why. August 13, 2014. It is freely available at This is a case where it may be good to read the posted comments, too.


Sources of U.S. government information on the sciences and technology:

Understanding Science, a broad overview from the University of California (Berkeley) Museum of Paleontology. One major part of the site is "teaching resources on the nature and process of science," for grades K-16.

VLIB = The WWW Virtual Library. This site contains links to useful sites over a wide range of areas, science and non-science. Major sections include: agriculture, the arts, business and economics, communications and media, computing and computer science, education, engineering, humanities and humanistic studies, information and libraries, international affairs, law, natural sciences and mathematics, recreation, regional studies, social and behavioural sciences, society. A good general reference site for browsing. Also available in Chinese, French, Spanish.

NSDL = National Science Digital Library. "NSDL is the Nation's online library for education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics." It includes resources intended for K-12 teachers, librarians, university faculty, and more. From the US National Science Foundation.

Benita Epstein Cartoons. An extensive collection, in many fields of science -- and more; see the menu bar at the left. This is a commercial site, but you can view the collection.

Pseudoscience. "What is it? How can I recognize it?" A nice page discussing the difference between good science and bad, with examples. From Steve Lower, Simon Fraser University.

Sense About Science. "Promoting good science and evidence for the public. Sense About Science is an independent charitable trust. We respond to the misrepresentation of science and scientific evidence on issues that matter to society, from scares about plastic bottles, fluoride and the MMR vaccine to controversies about genetic modification, stem cell research and radiation. Our recent and current priorities include alternative medicine, MRI, detox, nuclear power, evidence in public health advice, weather patterns and an educational resource on peer review." Recommended by UK physicist Greg Pearce.

   top of page

Science: History

Also see Chemistry: History and Medicine: history.

This section starts with two lists: the first is Musings posts, and the second is book suggestions.

Related posts in my Musings newsletter:
* Walter Clement Noel and his peculiar sickle-shaped blood cells (November 27, 2018).
* Ten years of iPSC (August 24, 2016).
* The man who established the (US) National Academy of Sciences (February 12, 2016).
* Analysis of uranium samples from World War II Germany (November 7, 2015).
* Does anyone know how strong gravity is? (September 16, 2014).
* A device for controlling the cursor on the computer screen (July 10, 2013).
* Discovering how CO2 is captured during photosynthesis: The Andy Benson story (June 15, 2013).
* Carl Woese and the archaea (January 12, 2013).
* DNA: Watching the hopping supercoils (November 24, 2012).
* Silent Spring -- on its 50th anniversary (October 5, 2012).
* What does "Anopheles" mean? (August 27, 2012).
* Frank Oppenheimer, on his 100th birthday: the Exploratorium (August 14, 2012).
* Salvador Luria, on his 100th birthday: the Luria Delbrück experiment (August 13, 2012).
* Alan Turing, computable numbers, and the Turing machine (June 23, 2012).
* Lyell on fossil rain-prints (May 6, 2012).
* Blueprint of a seaweed (1843) (May 2, 2012).
* Glenn Seaborg centennial (April 18, 2012).
* Discovery of the neutron: 80th anniversary (February 27, 2012).
* Quiz: What's the connection... (February 14, 2012).
* Benjamin Franklin and the electrical kite (November 22, 2011).
* The Antikythera device: a 2000-year-old computer (August 31, 2011).
* Central Dogma of Molecular Biology (August 16, 2011).
* The first report of a new planet (March 13, 2011).
* Evolution of the end of Origin (November 30, 2009).

Here are some science history books that are listed on my page Books: Suggestions for general science reading. Of course, that is a broad topic; many books have a history component. The list here notes a few books where science history is perhaps the emphasis. The books are listed here in order by publication date:
* Tinniswood, The Royal Society: And the Invention of Modern Science, 2019.
* Gribbin & Gribbin, The Cat in the Box -- A history of science in 100 experiments, 2017.
* Morris, The Matter Factory -- A history of the chemistry laboratory, 2015.
* Shachtman, Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries -- The founding fathers in the age of enlightenment, 2014.
* Leroi, The Lagoon -- How Aristotle Invented Science, 2014.
* Thomson, Jefferson's Shadow -- The Story of His Science, 2012.
* Stott, Darwin's Ghosts - The secret history of evolution, 2012.
* Fara, Science -- A Four Thousand Year History, 2009.
* Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 2003.
* Cromer, Uncommon Sense: The heretical nature of science, 1993.
* Tanford, Ben Franklin Stilled the Waves: An informal history of pouring oil on water with reflections on the ups and downs of scientific life in general, 1989.
* Davis, The Chemical Elements, 1959. A collection of 520 scientific instruments from before 1600. Includes photos, descriptions, technical information, and bibliographies. From the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford Univ, plus other European museums. The Nobel e-Museum, with lots of information! English translations of articles from the Encyclopedia edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, 1751-1777. Most of the articles are about science.

   top of page

General reference

Reference Desk is, by its own claim, "The single best source of facts on the Net". Long lists of links to general reference information. Check it out!

CIA World Fact Book. Thanks to Borislav Dopudja (University of Zagreb) for suggesting this site, which he calls a "nice and quick source of information" about the countries of the world. For each country, it includes both some historical overview and modern statistical information.

Top of page

Home page for    Musings (newsletter -- current science)    Intro Chem (X11)    Organic/Biochem (X402)    Biotechnology in the News (BITN)    Molecular Biology   

List of pages of Internet resources

Contact information       Site home page

Last update: April 20, 2024