Appendix D. Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation

In this glossary, key symbols and notation are briefly defined.

Symbol Definition
any symbol\overline{\text{any symbol}}\\
average (indicated by a bar over a symbol—e.g.,
v\overline{v}\\
 is average velocity)
°C Celsius degree
°F Fahrenheit degree
// parallel
perpendicular
\propto\\
proportional to
± plus or minus
0 zero as a subscript denotes an initial value
α alpha rays
α angular acceleration
α temperature coefficient(s) of resistivity
β beta rays
β sound level
β volume coefficient of expansion
β electron emitted in nuclear beta decay
β+ positron decay
γ gamma rays
γ surface tension
γ=11v2c2\displaystyle\gamma=\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}\\
a constant used in relativity
Δ change in whatever quantity follows
δ uncertainty in whatever quantity follows
ΔE change in energy between the initial and final orbits of an electron in an atom
ΔE uncertainty in energy
Δm difference in mass between initial and final products
ΔN number of decays that occur
Δp change in momentum
Δp uncertainty in momentum
ΔPEg change in gravitational potential energy
Δθ rotation angle
Δs distance traveled along a circular path
Δt uncertainty in time
Δt0 proper time as measured by an observer at rest relative to the process
ΔV potential difference
Δx uncertainty in position
ε0 permittivity of free space
η viscosity
θ angle between the force vector and the displacement vector
θ angle between two lines
θ contact angle
θ direction of the resultant
θb Brewster's angle
θc critical angle
κ dielectric constant
λ decay constant of a nuclide
λ wavelength
λn wavelength in a medium
μ0 permeability of free space
μk coefficient of kinetic friction
μs coefficient of static friction
ve electron neutrino
π+ positive pion
π negative pion
π0 neutral pion
ρ density
ρc critical density, the density needed to just halt universal expansion
ρfl fluid density
ρobj\overline{\rho}_{\text{obj}}\\
average density of an object
ρρw\displaystyle\frac{\rho}{\rho_{\text{w}}}\\
specific gravity
τ characteristic time constant for a resistance and inductance (RL) or resistance and capacitance (RC) circuit
τ characteristic time for a resistor and capacitor (RC) circuit
τ torque
Υ upsilon meson
Φ magnetic flux
ϕ phase angle
Ω ohm (unit)
ω angular velocity
A ampere (current unit)
A area
A cross-sectional area
A total number of nucleons
a acceleration
aB Bohr radius
ac centripetal acceleration
at tangential acceleration
AC alternating current
AM amplitude modulation
atm atmosphere
B baryon number
B blue quark color
B\overline{B}\\
antiblue (yellow) antiquark color
b quark flavor bottom or beauty
B bulk modulus
B magnetic field strength
Bint electron’s intrinsic magnetic field
Borb orbital magnetic field
BE binding energy of a nucleus—it is the energy required to completely disassemble it into separate protons and neutrons
BEA\displaystyle\frac{\text{BE}}{A}\\
binding energy per nucleon
Bq becquerel—one decay per second
C capacitance (amount of charge stored per volt)
C coulomb (a fundamental SI unit of charge)
Cp total capacitance in parallel
Cs total capacitance in series
CG center of gravity
CM center of mass
c quark flavor charm
c specific heat
c speed of light
Cal kilocalorie
cal calorie
COPhp heat pump’s coefficient of performance
COPref coefficient of performance for refrigerators and air conditioners
cosθ cosine
cotθ cotangent
cscθ cosecant
D diffusion constant
d displacement
d quark flavor down
dB decibel
di distance of an image from the center of a lens
do distance of an object from the center of a lens
DC direct current
E electric field strength
ε emf (voltage) or Hall electromotive force
emf electromotive force
E energy of a single photon
E nuclear reaction energy
E relativistic total energy
E total energy
E0 ground state energy for hydrogen
E0 rest energy
EC electron capture
Ecap energy stored in a capacitor
Eff efficiency—the useful work output divided by the energy input
EffC Carnot efficiency
Ein energy consumed (food digested in humans)
Eind energy stored in an inductor
Eout energy output
e emissivity of an object
e+ antielectron or positron
eV electron volt
F farad (unit of capacitance, a coulomb per volt)
F focal point of a lens
F force
F magnitude of a force
F restoring force
FB buoyant force
Fc centripetal force
Fi force input
Fnet net force
Fo force output
FM frequency modulation
f focal length
f frequency
f0 resonant frequency of a resistance, inductance, and capacitance (RLC) series circuit
f0 threshold frequency for a particular material (photoelectric effect)
f1 fundamental
f2 first overtone
f3 second overtone
fB beat frequency
fk magnitude of kinetic friction
fs magnitude of static friction
G gravitational constant
G green quark color
G\overline{G}\\
antigreen (magenta) antiquark color
g acceleration due to gravity
g gluons (carrier particles for strong nuclear force)
h change in vertical position
h height above some reference point
h maximum height of a projectile
h Planck's constant
hf photon energy
hi height of the image
ho height of the object
I electric current
I intensity
I intensity of a transmitted wave
I moment of inertia (also called rotational inertia)
I0 intensity of a polarized wave before passing through a filter
Iave average intensity for a continuous sinusoidal electromagnetic wave
Irms average current
J joule
JΨ\displaystyle\frac{\text{J}}{\Psi}\\
Joules/psi meson
K kelvin
k Boltzmann constant
k force constant of a spring
Kα x rays created when an electron falls into an n = 1 shell vacancy from the n = 3 shell
Kβ x rays created when an electron falls into an n = 2 shell vacancy from the n = 3 shell
kcal kilocalorie
KE translational kinetic energy
KE + PE mechanical energy
KEe kinetic energy of an ejected electron
KErel relativistic kinetic energy
KErot rotational kinetic energy
KE\overline{\text{KE}}\\
thermal energy
kg kilogram (a fundamental SI unit of mass)
L angular momentum
L liter
L magnitude of angular momentum
L self-inductance
angular momentum quantum number
Lα x rays created when an electron falls into an n = 2 shell from the n = 3 shell
Le electron total family number
Lμ muon family total number
Lτ tau family total number
Lf heat of fusion
Lf and Lv latent heat coefficients
Lorb orbital angular momentum
Ls heat of sublimation
Lv heat of vaporization
Lz z-component of the angular momentum
M angular magnification
M mutual inductance
m indicates metastable state
m magnification
m mass
m mass of an object as measured by a person at rest relative to the object
m meter (a fundamental SI unit of length)
m order of interference
m overall magnification (product of the individual magnifications)
m(AX)m\left({^{A}\text{X}}\right)\\
atomic mass of a nuclide
MA mechanical advantage
me magnification of the eyepiece
me mass of the electron
m angular momentum projection quantum number
mn mass of a neutron
mo magnification of the objective lens
mol mole
mp mass of a proton
ms spin projection quantum number
N magnitude of the normal force
N newton
N normal force
N number of neutrons
n index of refraction
n number of free charges per unit volume
NA Avogadro's number
Nr Reynolds number
N · m newton-meter (work-energy unit)
N · m newtons times meters (SI unit of torque)
OE other energy
P power
P power of a lens
P pressure
p momentum
p momentum magnitude
p relativistic momentum
ptot total momentum
ptot total momentum some time later
Pabs absolute pressure
Patm atmospheric pressure
Patm standard atmospheric pressure
PE potential energy
PEel elastic potential energy
PEelec electric potential energy
PEs potential energy of a spring
Pg gauge pressure
Pin power consumption or input
Pout useful power output going into useful work or a desired, form of energy
Q latent heat
Q net heat transferred into a system
Q flow rate—volume per unit time flowing past a point
+Q positive charge
Q negative charge
q electron charge
qp charge of a proton
q test charge
QF quality factor
R activity, the rate of decay
R radius of curvature of a spherical mirror
R red quark color
R\overline{R}\\
antired (cyan) quark color
R resistance
R resultant or total displacement
R Rydberg constant
R universal gas constant
r distance from pivot point to the point where a force is applied
r internal resistance
r perpendicular lever arm
r radius of a nucleus
r radius of curvature
r resistivity
r or rad radiation dose unit
rem roentgen equivalent man
rad radian
RBE relative biological effectiveness
RC resistor and capacitor circuit
rms root mean square
rn radius of the nth H-atom orbit
Rp total resistance of a parallel connection
Rs total resistance of a series connection
Rs Schwarzschild radius
S entropy
S intrinsic spin (intrinsic angular momentum)
S magnitude of the intrinsic (internal) spin angular momentum
S shear modulus
S strangeness quantum number
s quark flavor strange
s second (fundamental SI unit of time)
s spin quantum number
s total displacement
secθ secant
sinθ sine
sz z-component of spin angular momentum
T period—time to complete one oscillation
T temperature
Tc critical temperature—temperature below which a material becomes a superconductor
T tension
T tesla (magnetic field strength B)
t quark flavor top or truth
t time
t1/2 half-life—the time in which half of the original nuclei decay
tanθ tangent
U internal energy
u quark flavor up
u unified atomic mass unit
u velocity of an object relative to an observer
u velocity relative to another observer
V electric potential
V terminal voltage
V volt (unit)
V volume
v relative velocity between two observers
v speed of light in a material
v velocity
v\overline{\mathbf{v}}\\
average fluid velocity
VB − VA change in potential
vd drift velocity
Vp transformer input voltage
Vrms rms voltage
Vs transformer output voltage
vtot total velocity
vw propagation speed of sound or other wave
vw wave velocity
W work
W net work done by a system
W watt
w weight
wfl weight of the fluid displaced by an object
Wc total work done by all conservative forces
Wnc total work done by all nonconservative forces
Wout useful work output
X amplitude
X symbol for an element
ZAXN^A_Z\text{X}_N\\
notation for a particular nuclide
x deformation or displacement from equilibrium
x displacement of a spring from its undeformed position
x horizontal axis
XC capacitive reactance
XL inductive reactance
xrms root mean square diffusion distance
y vertical axis
Y elastic modulus or Young's modulus
Z atomic number (number of protons in a nucleus)
Z impedance

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