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Explaination of symbols?

  1. Oct 19, 2006 #1


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    What I am looking for is a link or "cheat sheet" that will give me an explaination of the symbols that are used in Physics Formulas. I have a basic understanding of some of the symbols but there are some that I do not understand. I have read several of Prof. Hawkings and Prof. Einsteins papers and I am wanting to get a better understanding of what I have read. Could I get some help in this matter?

    Thanks to all that respond!:biggrin:
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2006 #2
    If you look up the topic in Wikipedia, you should get the commonly used symbols and what they stand for, ideally with links to the pages that describe/explain each term in more detail.

    Alternatively, you could ask here for explanation of a particular formula/relation. Additionally, in the papers that you read, they should comment on non-standard symbols, or at least refer to the more introductory papers on the topic, which would probably describe the symbols used. And finally, if you look inside the front cover/in an appendix of many physics textbooks, you will find what you are looking for.
  4. Oct 19, 2006 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Also, if you're reading Einstein's original papers on relativity from 1905 etc., you should be aware that his notation is sometimes different from what modern textbooks use.
  5. Oct 20, 2006 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Ugh...I am soo not a fan of Einstein's notation. Granted, it is nice and compact, but what a pain it was to get used to.
  6. Oct 20, 2006 #5


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    @masudr - Thanks for your guidance! I shall put it to use.

    @jtbell - Here I am trying to understand what Einstein is saying only to find out that once I understand his writings I will have to translate them into modern notations.:cry: Are Prof. Hawking's and Dr. K.S. Thorne's notations the same?:rofl:
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