Sciences – Technology – Genetics

Free online books in the sciences. Includes physics, chemistry, botany, astronomy and biology textbooks and reference books. Also geology, oceanography, history of technology, inventors, genetics, science ethics. Books from the 1800s to 2019.





Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library



Earth Sciences Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Earth Sciences”. Be patient as the page loads.

Oceanography Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Oceanography”. Be patient as the page loads.

Meteorology Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Meteorology”. Be patient as the page loads.

Physics Collection

Internet Archive

Collection of nearly 300 books related to Physics, free and online, at the Internet Archive.

Chemistry Collection

Internet Archive

Collection of 100 books related to Chemistry, free and online, at the Internet Archive.

Human Anatomy Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Human Anatomy”. Be patient as the page loads.

Botany Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Botany”. Be patient as the page loads.

Astronomy Collection

Internet Archive

Collection of nearly 300 books related to astronomy, free and online, at the Internet Archive.

Folkscanomy Books of a Scientific Nature Collection

Numerous free online publications at the Internet Archive, assembled by ‘Folkscanomy’.

Science and Civilization Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Science and Civilization”. Be patient as the page loads.

The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry

Ball, David W. and others
Saylor Foundation 2011       

For the one-semester General, Organic and Biological Chemistry course.

Scientific and Technical Information Sources

Chen, Ching-chih
MIT 1987       

Guide to current reference sources of science and technology. Intended primarily for information professionals and their assistants in science and engineering, as well as a textbook for library and information schools.

Biology for High School

CK-12 2019       

Online Biology textbook.

Interactive Physics for High School

CK-12 2019       

“CK-12 Interactive Physics for High School FlexBook® covers core physics concepts and includes SIMs, PLIX, real world examples, videos, and study guides.” – Website

Physical Geology

Earle, Steven
Bccampus 2015       

“A comprehensive introductory text on the physical aspects of geology, including rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciation, groundwater, streams, coasts, mass wasting, climate change, planetary geology and much more.” -Open Textbook Library Website

Principles of Metallurgy

Fulton, Charles Herman
McGraw-Hill 1910        Dewey Dec.    669

“Accurate, scientific chapters presenting the fundamental principles and theories of metallurgy and their application to its various branches. For the fairly advanced student. A good elementary presentation, fairly comprehensive and concise, is Wysor’s Metallurgy.” – A.L.A.Catalog 1904 – 1911

Information Sources in Science and Technology

Hurt, C. D.
Libraries Unlimited 1994       

Multidisciplinary sources of information — Biology — Botany — Zoology — Astronomy — Chemistry — Environmental sciences — Geosciences — Physics — Mathematics — General engineering — Chemical engineering — Civil engineering — Computer science — Electrical engineering — Industrial engineering — Materials science — Mechanical engineering — Transportation engineering — Health and veterinary sciences

Chem1 Virtual Textbook: A Reference Text for General Chemistry

Lower, Stephen
Stephen Lower 2016       

“This “reference text” is intended to serve either as a supplement to a regular textbook or as a substitute for one. In the former case it will be useful, and in the latter case essential, for the instructor to provide a syllabus (or links within a learning management system) that guides the student through the sections appropriate to the particular course and correlates it with lectures, problem sets, and other course activities.” – About the Chem1 Virtual textbook webpage

Dictionary Of Chemistry

McGraw-Hill 2003       

“More that 8,000 essential terms; Covers every discipline of chemistry; Provides synonyms, acronyms, and abbreviations” -Book cover

Handbook of Practical Smithing and Forging : Engineers, & General Smiths’ Work

Moore, Thomas
Spon 1914        Dewey Dec.    682

Biology 2e


“Designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. Biology includes rich features that engage students in scientific inquiry, highlight careers in the biological sciences, and offer everyday applications.” -Website

Chemistry 2e


“designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of the two-semester general chemistry course. The textbook provides an important opportunity for students to learn the core concepts of chemistry and understand how those concepts apply to their lives and the world around them.” -Website

Organic Chemistry with a Biological Emphasis

Soderberg, Tim
Soderberg, Tim 2019       

“A free, open-access organic chemistry textbook in which the main focus is on relevance to biology and medicine” – Website

Physics – From Stargazers to Starships

Stern, David P.
CK-12 2016       

High School level textbook. “An introduction to astronomy written with a historical perspective.” – Website.

Introduction to Oceanography

Webb, Paul
Rebus Community 2019       

“A textbook appropriate to an introductory-level university course in oceanography. The book covers the fundamental geological, chemical, physical and biological processes in the ocean, with an emphasis on the North Atlantic region.” -Open Textbook Library Website

Metallurgy …

A Condensed Treatise for the Use of College Students and Any Desiring a General Knowledge of the Subject

Wysor, Henry
Chemical 1908        Dewey Dec.    669


History of Technology Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Technology History”. Be patient as the page loads.

Inventions Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Inventions”. Be patient as the page loads.

The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves

Arthur, W. Brian
Free Press 2011 Dewey Dec. 600

Questions — Combination and structure — Phenomena — Domains, or worlds entered for what can be accomplished there — Engineering and its solutions — The origin of technologies — Structural deepening — Revolutions and redomainings — The mechanisms of evolution — The economy evolving as its technologies evolve — Where do we stand with this creation of ours?

Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology

Barber, Nigel
Facts on File 2002 Dewey Dec. 600

“Features more than 400 entries that describe the varied ethical controversies in science and technology: laws, precedent-setting cases, regulations, agencies and organizations, ethical principles, concepts, people, and important events. Also covered are phenomena that are at the fringe of science but have important ethical implications, including voodoo deaths and experimental research into extrasensory perception (ESP).” – Publisher

The Wonderful Future that Never Was

Benford, Gregory
Hearst 2010 Dewey Dec. 609

“Profusely illustrated, the book is endlessly fascinating, a collage of snapshots of the present the way people saw it when it was still the distant future.” Booklist

Levitating Trains and Kamikaze Genes: Technological Literacy for the 1990s

Brennan, Richard P.
Wiley 1990 Dewey Dec. 600

space technology – short course in biotechnology and genetic engineering – Babbage to artificial intelligence: computer literacy – environmental penalties of high technology – new rules for the energy game – what’s wo important about superconductivity? – high-technology medicine – getting there from here: transportation technology – superweapons and arms control technology

The Power of the Machine: The Impact of Technology from 1700 to the Present

Buchanan, Robert A.
Viking 1992 Dewey Dec. 600

pt. 1. Background — Definitions and Chronology. 1. The Nature of Technology. 2. The Process of Technological Revolution — pt. 2. Sources of Power. 3. The Ascendancy of Steam Power. 4. Internal Combustion and Electricity — pt. 3. Applications of Power. 5. The Emergence of the Factory. 6. The Age of Mass Production. 7. Transport before the Railway Age. 8. Transport from Steam Trains to Rockets. 9. Communications and Information Technology. 10. Infrastructure — Buildings, Bridges and Services — pt. 4. The Social Context. 11. Technology and People. 12. Technology and the State. 13. The Technological Dilemma. 14. The Way to the Stars

The Progress of Invention in the Nineteenth Century

Byrn, Edward W.
1900 Dewey Dec. 600


The Norton History of Technology

Cardwell, Donald
Norton 1994 Dewey Dec. 600


The Innovators: The Discoveries, Inventions, and Breakthroughs of our Time

Diebold, John
Dutton 1990 Dewey Dec. 600

“… takes the reader memorably and dramatically to the scenes of discovery when small groups of now-famous innovators made some of the most astonishing technological breakthroughs of modern times. Moreover, the noted author follows those initial research-lab discoveries as they soon began to take understandable and usable shapes as transistors, xerography, the laser, electronic banking, new medicines, fiber optics, among others.” Book cover.

Encyclopedia Of Computer Science And Technology

Henderson, Harry
Facts on File 2009 Dewey Dec. 600


Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, Vol 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

A description of tools, instruments, machines, processes, and engineering; history of inventions; general technological vocabulary; and digest of mechanical appliances in science and the arts. Illustrated with upwards of seven thousand engravings

Knight, Edward H.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1882 Dewey Dec. 600

Also see: Hawkins, Nehemiah, Hawkins’ Mechanical Dictionary (1909) in Section 621 Applied physics in Engineering

International Encyclopedia of Science and Technology

Luck, Steve
Oxford University 1999 Dewey Dec. 600

“With more than 6,500 clearly written articles, a complete chronology of science ranging across almost 12,000 years, a Ready Reference section, and 1,000 color illustrations, photographs, and diagrams…covers every aspect of science and technology, including natural history, earth science, physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, information technology, and much more. Biographies of more than 850 famous scientists.” – book jacket

The Way Things Work

Macaulay, David
Houghton Mifflin 1988 Dewey Dec. 600

Text and numerous detailed illustrations introduce and explain the scientific principles and workings of hundreds of machines including a lawn sprinkler, pneumatic drill, electric guitar, and a smoke detector
The mechanics of movement — Harnessing the elements — Working with waves — Electricity and automation

Feminine Ingenuity: How Women Inventors Changed America

Macdonald, Anne L.
Balantine 1992 Dewey Dec. 609

1. Foremothers of American Invention — 2. After the War: Inventing Within Woman’s Sphere — 3. New Fields of Invention — 4. Centennial Sisterhood — 5. Patenting Dress Reform — 6. Publicizing, Proselytizing, and Educating: Uplifting the Position of Women Begins — 7. Inventing Outside and Beyond Woman’s Sphere — 8. Celebrating Women’s Ingenuity: Expositions, Fairs, and Patent Office Lists — 9. Still a Long Way to Go — 10. Patenting Know-how — 11. “New Women” in a New Century — 12. Hope Springs Eternal — 13. Same Song, Second Verse — 14. Depression, War, and Peace — 15. The Modern Woman Inventor — 16. Patents Pending? — Appendix: Patents of Women Inventors Cited in Text

The Wilson Chronology of Science and Technology

Ochoa, George and Corey, Melinda
H.W. Wilson 1997 Dewey Dec. 600

A record of scientific discovery and technological invention, from the Stone Age to the Information Age.

Inventing the 19th Century: 100 Inventions that Shaped the Victorian Age from Aspirin to the Zeppelin

Van Dulken, Stephen
New York University 2001 Dewey Dec. 609

Briefly describes the inventions of the 19th century with text and diagrams from the patent applications.

Inventing the Twentieth Century: 100 Inventions that Shaped the World, From the Airplane to the Zipper

Van Dulken, Stephen
New York University 2000 Dewey Dec. 609

Briefly describes the inventions of the 20th century with text and diagrams from the patent applications.


Genetics Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Genetics”. Be patient as the page loads.

Genetics & Society

Barker, Penelope
H.W. Wilson 1995 Dewey Dec. 613.9

A volume in the series, “The Reference Shelf”. “Books in this series contain reprints of articles, excerpts from books, and addresses on current issues and social trends in the United States and other countries.” This volume has three parts: Genetics and medicine – Ethical, social, and legal issues raised by advances in medical genetics – Genetics and industry. Bibliography.

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race

War Against the Weak Book Cover

Black, Edwin
Four Walls Eight Windows 2003        Dewey Dec.    363.9

“The author reveals that the American eugenics movement “was extensive, systematic, well-funded, and supported by major political and intellectual leaders; perhaps most startling, it directly inspired the rise of Nazism in Hitler’s Germany.” -Libr J

The Social Direction of Human Evolution

Kellicott, William Erskine
Appleton 1911 Dewey Dec. 613.9

Comprehensive, clear and very readable presentation of eugenics, based on the best authorities. Davenport’s Heredity in relation to eugenics (Holt, 1912, 298p., $2 n. 12-1394) is the most important work for students, containing results of recent research conducted by the author.
– – A.L.A. Catalog 1904-1911

Understanding the Genome

Olshevsky, George
Warner 2002 Dewey Dec. 613.9

Contains over fifteen essays in which researchers, scientists, and reporters describe various aspects of decoding the human genome and discuss the implications of the scientific breakthrough.
Topics: Human genome, Human gene mapping, Génome humain, Cartes chromosomiques humaines, Genome, Genetics, Medical, Genome, Genetics.

Modern Genetic Science: New Technology, New Decisions

Smith, Terry L.
Rosen 2009 Dewey Dec. 613.9

Describes modern developments in the field of genetics, discussing the mapping of the human genome, the genetic causes of afflictions, and genetic modification.
Introduction — Genes and the genetic code — Stem cells and cloning — Feeling sick? genes to the rescue — Animals and genetic engineering — When genetics gets personal — Synthetic biology — Genetic engineering and society

Also see our collection of articles at History of Science & Technology

Century Past Library