# This question's going to sound really stupid

1. Sep 16, 2005

### Manchot

This question's going to sound really stupid, but here goes: what letter is this supposed to be? I just came across it in a book of mine, but for the life of me, I can't tell whether it's a scripted R, n, or even pi. If I had to guess, I'd say that it's an n, simply because it looks somewhat like a lowercase n. However, if it is a scripted lowercase letter, then why is it the size of the uppercase letters? It's really bothering me, because when I'm reading, I'm not sure what to call it.

2. Sep 16, 2005

### zoobyshoe

I can't tell.

3. Sep 16, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

If you could show it in context we might be able to tell what it is.

4. Sep 16, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
It looks like a script pi to me...

5. Sep 16, 2005

### zoobyshoe

Its sum fansy ritin', aint it?

6. Sep 16, 2005

### pattylou

I vote pi.

7. Sep 16, 2005

### Manchot

Ok, the mystery letter is in Terrell Hill's "An Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics," and refers to the number of systems in an "ensemble" of systems. (That's another reason why I would lean towards n.)

8. Sep 16, 2005

### Pengwuino

Thats the Penguin Constant.

Since penguins are lazy, it is simply "1", no units.

9. Sep 16, 2005

### Manchot

You know, Pengwuino, our user names are very closely related. Look up the word "Manchot" in a French-English dictionary

10. Sep 16, 2005

### Pengwuino

haha, the Manchot constant :D

Damn, google even has a translator... why don't we all just run our lives off google.

11. Sep 16, 2005

### Knavish

Definitely an n.

12. Sep 16, 2005

### zoobyshoe

It's a hieroglyph from the wreckage at Roswell.

13. Sep 16, 2005

### Manchot

Are you basing that on its looks or on the context?

14. Sep 16, 2005

### zoobyshoe

No, that's the information that was just beamed into my head from the mothership.

15. Sep 16, 2005

### JamesU

it's either an n or an r. if it's alphanumeric, of course

16. Sep 16, 2005

### Smurf

looks like a pi to me.

17. Sep 17, 2005

### honestrosewater

Last edited: Sep 17, 2005
18. Sep 17, 2005

### zoobyshoe

I think I saw that symbol chiseled in a piece of granite in the New Hampshire woods by a 10th century group of Irish monks who crossed the Atlantic in a skin boat.

19. Sep 17, 2005

### Smurf

Ah.. we've discov... WAIT A MINUTE! There were no monks in new hampshire in the 10th century. You're making this UP!

20. Sep 17, 2005

### zoobyshoe

It's somewhat embellished, yes, but it is basically true: there were monks in Ireland at the time, and there was granite in new Hampshire.

21. Sep 17, 2005

### Manchot

I think I've figured it out. It's the Fraktur N, which as it turns out, is implemented in TeX. See for yourself:

$$\mathfrak{N}$$

22. Sep 17, 2005

### JamesU

I KNEW IT! it wasn't $$\pi$$

23. Sep 17, 2005

### zoobyshoe

That looks very close, yes.

24. Sep 17, 2005

### honestrosewater

Elementary, my dear Watson!