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Gamma (Γ, γ) Definition

Gamma (Γ, γ) is the third letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 3. In Ancient Greek, gámma or γάμμα is the letter gamma represented a voiced velar stop /ɡ/. In Modern Greek, this letter represents either a voiced velar fricative or a voiced palatal fricative. In the International Phonetic Alphabet and other modern Latin-alphabet based phonetic notations, it represents the voiced velar fricative.

Usage in Mathematics & Science

The uppercase Gamma (Γ) is used for:

  • In mathematics, the gamma function (usually written as Γ -function) is an extension of the factorial to complex numbers.

  • In mathematics, the upper incomplete gamma function.

  • The Christoffel symbols in differential geometry.

  • In probability theory and statistics, the gamma distribution is a two-parameter family of continuous probability distributions.

  • Circulation in fluid mechanics.

  • As reflection coefficient in physics and electrical engineering.

  • The tape alphabet of a Turing machine.

  • The Feferman–Schütte ordinal Γ0

  • One of the Greeks in mathematical finance.

The lowercase Gamma (γ) is used for:

  • Chromatic number of in graph theory.

  • Gamma radiation in nuclear physics.

  • The photon, the elementary particle of light and other electromagnetic radiation.

  • Surface energy in materials science.

  • The Lorentz factor in the theory of relativity.

  • In mathematics, the lower incomplete gamma function.

  • The heat capacity ratio Cp/Cv in thermodynamics.

  • The activity coefficient in thermodynamics.

  • The gyromagnetic ratio in electromagnetism.

  • Gamma waves in neuroscience.

  • Gamma motor neurons in neuroscience.

  • A non-SI metric unit of measure of mass equal to one microgram (1 μg). This always-rare use is currently deprecated.

  • A non-SI unit of measure of magnetic flux density, sometimes used in geophysics, equal to 1 nanotesla (nT).

  • The power by which the luminance of an image is increased in gamma correction.

  • The Euler–Mascheroni constant.

  • In civil and mechanical engineering:

    • Specific weight

    • The shear rate of a fluid is represented by a lowercase gamma with a dot above it:

    • Austenite (also known as γ-iron), a metallic non-magnetic allotrope or solid solution of iron.

  • The gamma carbon, the third carbon attached to a functional group in organic chemistry and biochemistry; see Alpha and beta carbon.

  • The lowercase Latin gamma γ can also be used in contexts (such as chemical or molecule nomenclature) where gamma must not be confused with the letter y, which can occur in some computer typefaces.

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

Related Definitions

Sources

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

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