Proportionality SymbolDate: 05/20/2003 at 04:03:38 From: Lauren Subject: Rates and variation symbol Do you know the name of the little symbol used in the topic of rates and variation that means "in proportion to"? It looks a bit like alpha, only more (this sounds odd, but it's the best way to describe it) "fish-like." Date: 05/20/2003 at 12:06:00 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Rates and variation symbol Hi, Lauren. Many symbols have no specific name, and are just referred to by their usage; this can be called the proportionality symbol. In fact, the 'official' name of the symbol in Unicode (a set of international characters for computers) is "proportional to": Symbol Characters and Glyphs - W3C Working Draft http://www.w3.org/Math/characters/html/symbol.html Looking for a mention of an actual name, I looked up its history in Jeff Miller's: Earliest Uses of Symbols of Relation http://jeff560.tripod.com/relation.html It is just called "The symbol for variation (an eight lying on its side with a piece removed)." Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics gives no name: Proportional http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Proportional.html If you prefer to describe it by its appearance rather than strictly by its usage, you might call it an "open alpha" or "loose alpha," rather than "fishy alpha." People do often describe it (wrongly) as an alpha, but I haven't seen these modifiers used anywhere. If you have any further questions, feel free to write back. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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