01202 398938

**a, b, c**: lengths of the sides of a triangle, trapezium e.g. Pythagoras $a^2+b^2=c^2$

**A, B, C**: the three angles in a triangle e.g. sine rule $\frac{a}{\sin(A)}=\frac{b}{\sin(B)}$

**a**: acceleration

**A**: Area e.g. area of circle $A=\pi r^2$

**b**: base e.g. area of triangle $A=\frac{b\times h}{2}$

**B**: denoting the Binomial distribution in statistics.

**c**: speed of light $c=3.0×10^{8}$ or prefix for “centi~” meaning $\times 10^{-2}$

**C**: circumference $C=\pi D$, or Celsius (the unit of temperature), or 100 in Roman Numerals.

**d**: distance.

**D**: Diameter of circle e.g. $C=\pi D$, or 500 in Roman Numerals.

**e**: Euler’s constant $e=2.718281828459045…$

**E**: Exterior angle of a polygon $E=\frac{360}{n}$ or Energy e.g. $E=mc^2$

**f**: a function $f(x)$, or no. of faces in Euler’s Polyhedron formula $f+v-e=2$

**F**: force e.g. Newton’s second law $F=ma$, denoting the F distribution in statistics (named after Fisher).

**g**: acceleration due to gravity g=9.81 (planet Earth) or g=1.625 (moon).

**G**: Newton’s Universal Gravitational Constant $G=6.674\times 10^{-11}$ e.g. Newton’s famous inverse square law $F=-\frac{GMm}{r^2}$

**h**: height.

**H**: [Help! Must be from School level Maths, not Chemistry or Physics].

** i, j, k:** unit vectors in the $x, y, z$ directions respectively.

**i**: used in complex numbers $i=\sqrt{-1}$

**I**: Impulse in mechanics $I=mv-mu$ or in physics the Moment of Inertia (the “rotational analogue of mass”).

**j**: alternative symbol for $i$ in complex numbers $j=\sqrt{-1}$

**J**: Joules (the unit of energy).

**k**: prefix for “kilo~” meaning $\times 10^3$

**K**: Kelvin (the S.I. unit of temperature – admittedly more physics than maths?).

**l**: length.

**L**: the number 50 in Roman Numerals.

**m**: mass e.g. $F=ma$ or metres, the unit of length.

**M**: another (larger) mass e.g. Newton’s inverse square law $F=-\frac{GMm}{r^2}$ or the prefix for “Mega~” meaning $\times 10^6$, or 1000 in Roman Numerals.

**n**: a unknown counting number e.g. “assume there are n people”, or “find the nth term”.

**N**: Newtons (the unit of force), or denoting a Normal distribution in statistics.

**o, O**: best avoided as so easily confused with 0 (zero).

**p**: sometimes used for momentum in mechanics $p=mv$

**P**: Pressure or Power, also commonly used as a name for a point in the plane.

**q**: [help?!]

**Q**: another point in the plane; electrical charge $Q=It$

**r**: radius e.g. area of a circle $A=π r^2$

**R**: electrical resistance $V=IR$

**s**: displacement in constant acceleration formulae e.g. $s=ut+\frac{1}{2}at^2$; seconds (S.I. unit of time); the sample standard deviation in statistics $s=\sqrt{\frac {\Sigma (x-\bar{x})^2}{n-1}}$.

**S**: sum e.g sum of n terms of a geometric series $S_{n}=\frac{a(1-r^n)}{1-r}$

**t**: time, or denoting the t distribution in statistics.

**T**: Temperature, or an unknown value of t, the time.

**u**: the initial velocity.

**U**: denoting the Uniform Distribution in statistics.

**v**: (final) velocity e.g. Kinetic Energy $E_{k}=\frac{1}{2}mv^2$

**V**: volume e.g. volume of sphere $V=\frac{4}{3}π r^3$, or 5 in Roman Numerals.

**w**: width e.g. area of rectangle $A=l× w$

**W**: Watts (the unit of power), Weight $W=mg$, Work Done $W=Fs$

**x**: free to stand for a general unknown number!!

**X**: free to use as a general random variable in statistics, or 10 in Roman Numerals.

**y**: likewise, free to stand for a second unknown number.

**Y**: free to use as a second random variable in statistics.

**z**: free to represent a third unknown number. Typically used for an unknown complex number.

**Z**: in statistics, a random variable with a standardised Normal distribution.

- ADVENTURES IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION
- STRICTLY COME COUNTING
- WHY ARE THE STONES AT GIANTS CAUSEWAY HEXAGONAL?
- WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT THE NUMBER TWO?
- WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT THE NUMBER ONE?
- DOGARITHMS
- HOW MOST PEOPLE CAN BE “BETTER THAN AVERAGE”!
- WHY IS x USED FOR THE UNKNOWN IN ALGEBRA?
- 5 REASONS MATHS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT
- PARALLAX, PENTAPRISMS AND PHOTOGRAPHY
- 6 WAYS TO MAKE MATHS FUN
- THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF MATHS
- SUPERSTARS OF MATHS – JOHN VENN
- SUPERSTARS OF MATHS – RENE DESCARTES
- HEXAHEDRA AND OTHER “HEX” WORDS
- WHICH IS BETTER: METRIC OR IMPERIAL?
- HOW MANY GIFTS IN TOTAL IN “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”?
- FUN WITH THE NEW POLYMER FIVE POUND NOTE
- HOUSE OF MATHS MAKES THE NATIONAL NEWS!
- FACTORS AND MULTIPLES
- SUPERSTARS OF MATHS – ISAAC NEWTON
- SUPERSTARS OF MATHS – LEONHARD EULER
- WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALGEBRA?