SCIENTIFIC ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS
This table lists some abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols
encountered in the physical sciences. Most entries in italic type
are symbols for physical quantities; for more details on these, see
the table “Symbols and Terminology for Physical and Chemical
Quantities” in this section. Additional information on units may
be found in the table “International System of Units” in Section 1.
Many of the terms to which these abbreviations refer are included
in the tables “Definitions of Scientific Terms” in Section 2 and
“Techniques for Materials Characterization” in Section 12. Useful
references for further information are given below.
Publication practices vary with regard to the use of capital or low-
er case letters for many abbreviations. An effort has been made to
follow the most common practices in this table, but much variation
is found in the literature. Likewise, policies on the use of periods in
an abbreviation vary considerably. Periods are generally omitted in
this table unless they are necessary for clarity.
Periods should never
appear in SI units. The SI prefixes (m, k, M, etc.) are included here,
but they should never be used alone. Selected combinations of these
prefixes with SI units (e.g., mg, kV, MW) are also included.
Abbreviations are listed in alphabetical order without regard to
case. Entries beginning with Greek letters fall at the end of the table.
1. Mills, Ian, Ed.,
Quantities, Units, and Symbols in Physical Chemistry
Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1993.
2. Kotyk, A.,
Quantities, Symbols, Units, and Abbreviations in the Life
, Humana Press, Totawa, NJ, 1999.
3. Rhodes, P. H.,
The Organic Chemist’s Desk Reference
, Chapman &
Hall, London, 1995.
4. Minkin, V., Glossary of Terms used in Theoretical Organic Chemistry,
Pure Appl. Chem
. 71, 1919–1981, 1999.
5. Brown, R. D., Ed., Acronyms Used in Theoretical Chemistry,
. 68, 387–456, 1996.
Quantities and Units, ISO Standards Handbook, Third Edition
International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, 1993.
7. Cohen, E. R., and Giacomo, P., Symbols, Units, Nomenclature, and
Fundamental Constants in Physics,
146A, 1–68, 1987.
Chemical Acronyms Database
, Indiana University, < www.oscar.chem.
indiana.edu/cfdocs/ libchem/acronyms/ acronymsearch.html>.
Acronyms and Symbols
IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology (Gold Book),
ampere; adenine (in genetic code)
absorbance; area; Helmholtz energy; mass number
atomic weight (relative atomic mass)
atto (SI prefix for 10
absorption coefficient; acceleration; activity; van der
analog to digital
atomic absorption spectroscopy