Hey, sorry for having no Sunday Function yesterday. Life and travel conspired in such a way as to prevent it. Well, there’s always next week! But hey, at we have a post for today.
In physics, as in all mathematical disciplines, we have a lot of need for equations. Those equations contain letters which represent various numbers or quantities. We have plenty to choose from, with the letters both Latin-derived and Greek-derived. Even so that’s only a couple dozen letters, and there’s a lot of things to represent. E might be energy, or electric field. C might be the speed of light, or just a generic integration constant. But I bet the worst offender if terms of being used for different things is the nondescript and unassuming letter k. Offhand:
k – the spring constant in Hooke’s Law.
kb – Boltzmann’s constant
k – the Coulomb force constant, k = 1/(4 π ε0)
k – another name for the z direction
k – (with a hat over it), the unit vector in the z direction
K – Kelvin degrees
K – the metric prefix for kilo
k – the wave vector
k – the wavenumber (the magnitude of the above wave vector)
k – a generic (usually integer) constant, after m, n, and l are already used.
k – a Latin index running over 1,2, and 3 for tensor notation in electrodynamics, general relativity and other fields.
K – kinetic energy
KJ – the Josephson constant
K – one of several variants of K mesons in particle physics
Are the more? Almost certainly, this is just what I can remember in 5 minutes of thinking. Maybe it’s time for some new letters.