Free Physics Textbooks

Physics has been defined in a number of ways but once of the most succinct is that physics endeavors to explain how the universe behaves through the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, energy and force.

With such a broad spectrum of physical systems to study, physics is broken down further into a number of sub-specialties. As a field of study, physics is a subject that often requires knowledge in other fields of study including biophysics and quantum chemistry. Sir Isaac Newton, considered by some to be the most influential scientist in the field, invented the calculus needed to calculate the gravitational force of the Earth on the Moon.

Inventions stemming from the study of physics surround us – transistors, computers, the Internet, televisions, MRI machines, X-Rays and so very much more.

The Free Textbook List will include only those materials labeled as textbooks by their authors. It is my sincere hope that students can utilize these free online physics textbooks as supplemental materials to aid in their understanding of the topics they are studying. A number of them have been adopted as the official course textbook and that’s a trend that will hopefully continue to increase in popularity.


  • Mechanics (2)

  • List of Free Physics Textbooks

    A Radically Modern Approach to Introductory Physics Volume I

    Written by: David J. Raymond (New Mexico Tech)

    Introductory physics textbook written to introduce modern topics (quarks, black holes, etc.) while building upon classical mechanics in hopes of enticing students into the field of physics.

    A Radically Modern Approach to Introductory Physics Volume II

    Written by: David J. Raymond (New Mexico Tech)

    Volume 2 of 2 of a free online Introductory Physics Textbook by David J. Raymond who has been teaching since 1973.

    A Textbook for High School Physics

    A bit of a work in progress, this high school physics textbook would be a great supplementary source for high school science students and non-STEM majors in college.

    Calculus-Based Physics

    Written by: Jeffrey W. Schnick (Saint Anselm College)

    Free online calculus-based physics textbook written by Dr. Jeffrey W. Schnick for a two semester, university level physics course.

    Chaos: Classical and Quantum

    Written by: Predrag Cvitanovic', Roberto Artuso, Ronnie Mainieri, Gregor Tanner, Gábor Vattay, Niall Whelan and Andreas Wirzba (Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen)

    Meaty Chaos: Classical and Quantum textbook offered along with an open online 2-part course course entitled Nonlinear Dynamics I & II: Geometry of Chaos.

    Classical Mechanics: a Critical Introduction

    Written by: Michael Cohen, Professor Emeritus Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Pennsylvania

    Free online classical mechanics textbook by Michael Cohen entitled Classical Mechanics: a Critical Introduction. Designed by the author to read like a tutor explaining concepts one-on-one to a student.

    Crystals – an Educational Pamphlet for Teachers

    Written by: Elizabeth A. Wood for the Commission on Teaching of the International Union of Crystallography

    Pamphlet designed to help teachers introduce the subject of crystals to their students. Would make great material for a high school science project.

    Einstein Light

    Written by: Joe Wolfe (University of New South Wales)

    Einstein Light, an animated and highly visual explanation of relativity by Joe Wolfe. Learn about Galileo, Maxwell and Einstein’s work in relativity.

    Electromagnetic Field Theory Textbook

    Written by: Bo Thidé (Uppsala School of Engineering in Sweden)

    Electromagnetic Field Theory Textbook written for advanced undergraduates or graduate students by Bo Thidé and a number of other scholars and physicists.

    Elements for Physics

    Written by: Albert Tarantola (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)

    The Elements for Physics textbook was written by Dr. Albert Taratola and covers advanced physics topics, including declinatives for STEM students.

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