Web Catalog of Free Books & Free Physics Texts

Plus Some Open Source Physics and Educator Software

The Light and Matter series of introductory physics textbooks The Assayer is the web’s largest catalog of books whose authors have made them available for free. Users can also submit reviews.

The site has been around since 2000, and is a particularly good place to find free books about math, science, and computers.

If you’re looking for old books that have fallen into the public domain, you’re more likely to find what you want at Project Gutenberg.

You need to become a member if you want to post your own reviews, add books to the database, or participate in discussions of books.

Click here to become a member.

Membership is free, and the only personal information you need to give is your e-mail address.

The originator of The Assayer is a Physicist named Ben Cowell who has done a lot more and shares it on the Web on his other website: (LightAnd Matter.com


The Light and Matter Series (www.lightandmatter.com/books.html)

This series of six books is intended for a one-year introductory course of the type typically taken by biology majors. Algebra and trig are used, and there are optional calculus-based sections.

For fall 2011, he is changing the format from six volumes to two and integrating relativity into the treatment of electromagnetism.

A preview of the new version is available.

Other books: calc-based physics, conceptual physics, calculus, general relativity.


Open-source Software

Open-source software by Ben Cowell:

  • OpenGrade, open-source software for teachers to record grades
  • Planet Finder – an applet that maps the stars and planets in the night sky from any location on any night
  • Spotter, a symbolic answer checker for math and science students
  • When, an extremely simple personal calendar program
  • Clamor, Unix software for musical ear training
  • Accelerando, an accelerating musical metronome
  • FreeLab, open-source software for use with Vernier LoggerPro sensors
  • Scope, a time- and frequency-domain software oscilloscope for unixlike operating systems
  • Soundconverter, a program for converting sound files from one format to another
  • Inf, a browser-based calculator that can handle infinite and infinitesimal numbers
  • Ear Workout, Mac software for musical ear training
  • Mac Fourier, displays the Fourier spectrum of a sound recorded through a microphone
  • pmtolatex software for converting PageMaker files to LaTeX
  • footex, software for converting LaTeX math markup into mathml, html, or png
  • a browser-based calculator, for homebrewers, which helps you to find your beer’s specific gravity based on a measurement with a refractometer

About the Author, Ben Cowell

Ben Crowell teaches physics at Fullerton College, a community college in southern California. He is fully equipped with a PhD in physics from Yale, but more fondly remembers his undergraduate years at UC Berkeley.

His personal page is here: www.lightandmatter.com/personal


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