Useful links

Here are a number of webpages which physics types may find useful and/or interesting:

Principia College links


LaTeX is a typesetting program—it’s a mark-up language, sort of like HTML, but way classier and more awesome. Pretty much every paper that’s published in physics or astronomy is written in LaTeX; while the learning curve is pretty steep, learning your way around LaTeX is extremely worthwhile.

The first order of business is to get a basic TeX installation. Unless you’re on Linux, you’ll almost certainly want to use one of the following:

In principle you could use a text editor and a command-line interface to typeset your papers. However, you’ll probably also want to use an integrated editing environment. All of these are pretty good:

Again, the learning curve is pretty steep! However, there are lots of great resources online which will answer almost any question that might come up. This is one of the better ones:


Python is a high-level programming language with considerable popularity in the astronomical community (and in the scientific community as a whole). The installation isn’t trivial, but you can get pretty clear directions—and a series of useful tutorials which should help you get up and running—from the following website:

A good installation for Python, including a number of the more useful scientific packages, can be found here:

Other resources