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Alpha (Α, α) Definition

Alpha (Α, α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek Numerals, it has a value of 1. It was derived from the Phoenician and Hebrew letter aleph which is an ox or leader. Letters that arose from alpha include the Latin A and the Cyrillic letter А. In English, the noun alpha is used as a synonym for beginning, or first (in a series), reflecting its Greek roots.

Usage in Mathematics & Science

The letter alpha has several different uses such as for the following:

• Alpha radiation, angular acceleration, alpha particles, alpha carbon and strength of electromagnetic interaction (as Fine-structure constant).

• Alpha also stands for thermal expansion coefficient of a compound in physical chemistry. It is also commonly used in mathematics in algebraic solutions representing quantities such as angles.

• In mathematics, the letter alpha is used to denote the area underneath a normal curve in statistics to denote significance level when proving null and alternative hypotheses.

• In zoology, it is used to name the dominant individual in a wolf or dog pack.

• In aerodynamics, the letter is used as a symbol for the angle of attack of an aircraft and the word alpha is used as a synonym for this property.

• The uppercase letter alpha is not generally used as a symbol because it tends to be rendered identically to the uppercase Latin A.

• In finance, it is a financial measure denoting the difference between a fund's actual return and its expected return, given its risk level (as measured by beta). In this case a positive alpha indicates that a fund has performed better than expected based on its risk (beta), whereas a negative alpha indicates poorer performance versus what was expected.

Greek Alphabet

The letters of the Ancient Greek Alphabet, which are frequently utilized in math and science:

 Greek Alphabet Symbol Letter Symbol Letter Uppercase Lowercase Uppercase Lowercase Α α Alpha Ν ν Nu Β β Beta Ξ ξ Xi Γ γ Gamma Ο ο Omicron Δ δ Delta Π π Pi Ε ε Epsilon Ρ ρ Rho Ζ ζ Zeta Σ σ Sigma Η η Eta Τ τ Tau Θ θ Theta Υ υ Upsilon Ι ι Iota Φ φ Phi Κ κ Kappa Χ χ Chi Λ λ Lambda Ψ ψ Psi Μ μ Mu Ω ω Omega

Sources

“Alpha.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Apr. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha.

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