My problem: I need a value for a specific physical quantity. I found several papers with contradicting numbers. How do I make sure to not miss the most accurate data by e.g. missing the newest publications on it?

In other words: What is a good strategy to find the most reliable sources due to newest insights (where to start, which websites to use best, which books etc)?


The US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) runs a web database where you can look up constants: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/

These might not be the most recent ones, but they are regularly updated, reliable and represent, sort of, the academic consensus.

There are similar databases for specific fields of research. E.g. in particle physics, there is the Particle Data Group (PDG) which publishes the Review of Particle Physics (and the much shorter, yet comprehensive & handy Particle Physics Booklet).

  • I was not speaking of such general constants but very specific ones. In my case, I like to know how fast the inter-valley scattering time for electrons in bulk Germanium is. – DaPhil Jan 8 '14 at 13:33
  • You could also base the reliability one the uncertainty of the measurements. – fibonatic Jan 8 '14 at 16:00

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