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What is Unity?

  1. Jun 8, 2012 #1
    I came across this term in Elements of Modern X-ray Physics by Nielsen. I'm assuming this term isn't specific to the book (because that would be ridiculous). I've always taken math courses geared toward Physics/Engineering so some math terms were never used so this is probably one of them.

    I'm assuming it is somehow equivalent to 1. I just don't know why the author did not say 1 instead of unity.

    The context in which it was used was
     

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  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2012 #2
    It's really just a word used to sound more pretentious than saying "one." It might be handy to distinguish 1 of some unit of measure versus 1 as a pure number, but that's about it.
     
  4. Jun 8, 2012 #3
    I suppose it makes sense to use unity instead of 1 for units. Especially in a Physics textbook.

    Thank you sir and/or ma'am.
     
  5. Jun 8, 2012 #4
    Unity is a unitless one. It is also used extensively in ring theory so that the theorems can be extended to systems that do not use numbers. I doubt the second part is the reason in an X-ray physics book.
     
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