I am studying to return to school in physics and would like to start spending as much time as possible on that task. Most of my small amount of free time, however, I am either doing house work or commuting to work. While it is difficult or impossible to read while doing these chores, I think I could get great benefit out of listening to educational physics material. I know that there are textbook reading services for the blind, but I have not been able to locate audio versions of physics texts available to the public. I know that several schools put their lecture material on YouTube, but I would love to get something that is specifically oriented to an audio only audience.

Are there any good resources to find educational material on physics in the form of audio?

  • $\begingroup$ iTunesU has some audio only recordings, but I don't think these fall into the category of being specifically prepared for audio. What level are you looking to get in at? i.e., grad, undergrad, other? $\endgroup$
    – Jen
    Nov 6, 2011 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ Either graduate level or advanced undergrad. Certainly not Physics for Dummies kind of stuff. $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2011 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is a good candidate for community wiki... thoughts before I wikify it? $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 6, 2011 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ I am not familiar with the community wiki thing, but it might even be good to shift the focus slightly toward learning about physics for the disabled generally. Then again, that might be a bit off topic for a physics specific forum like this one. $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2011 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ I just asked a question about using LaTeX to generate audio in the TeX.se and recieved some answers that I find relevant to this discussion. (tex.stackexchange.com/questions/37640/…) $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2011 at 13:22

1 Answer 1


Your question refers to "textbooks," so I assume you have in mind something beyond just listening to a nonmathematical popularization by Isaac Asimov or Brian Greene. You can't learn a mathematical subject like physics without dealing with equations and diagrams. Blind people have workarounds for these issues, but they aren't workarounds that are going to be practical for you while driving; the workarounds are more time-consuming and difficult than simply sitting down with the book would be for you, and they will require more attention than you can provide while driving.

If you really want to try the audio method, there are quite a few good, free physics textbooks online: http://www.theassayer.org/cgi-bin/asbrowsesubject.cgi?class=Q#freeclassQC Get software that reads web pages out loud, and give it a shot. I just don't think you'll find it practical.

  • $\begingroup$ I take your point about paying attention while driving but I am perfectly up for working with blind solutions generally. I have several blind family members and friends and I know they can effectively "read" material like this. I know the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) transcribes resources for blind people, but their resources are limited and not generally accessible to the public. $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2011 at 19:06

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