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Frequently Used Unicode Characters in Physics, Math, and Engineering

March 25, 2020
Last updated July 15, 2021
KMC Lalitpur

The tables below contain the actual Unicode characters. 

Mathematical Operators and Symbols

Characters in Unicode

Description

Hex Code

±

Plus or Minus

00B1

Square Root

221A

Proportional to

221D

Approximately equal to

2245

Not equal to

2260

Less than or equal to

2264

Greater than or equal to

2265

Infinity

221E

Integral

222B

Partial Differential

2202

°

Degree

00B0

Angle (Acute Angle)

2220

Right Angle

221F

Sigma

2211

θ

Theta [Greek]

03B8

Fractions

Characters in Unicode

Description

Hex Code

Fraction with 1 numerator

215F

½

Half

00BD

One-third

2153

¼

One-fourth (Quarter)

00BC

Two-third

2154

¾

Three-fourth

00BE

Physics and Engineering

Characters in UnicodeDescriptionHex Code
ΩOhm/Omega03A9
ωOmega [Greek]03C9
ψPsi [Greek]03C8
λLambda [Greek]03BB
µMu [Greek]03BC
ρRho03C1
αAlpha [Greek]03B1
σLowercase Sigma [Greek]03C3
ηEta [Greek]03B7
Σ Sigma (Uppercase) 03A3
θTheta (Lowercase) 03B8

Superscripts (Exponent/Power)

Characters in UnicodeDescriptionHex Code
Superscript Zero (to the power 0)2070
¹Superscript One00B9
²Superscript Two00B2
³Superscript Three00B3
Superscript Four2074
Superscript Five2075
Superscript Six2076
Superscript Seven2077
Superscript Eight2078
Superscript Nine2079
½Superscript Half00BD
Superscript Minus207B
Superscript Plus207A

Subscripts

Characters in UnicodeDescriptionHex Code
Subscript Zero2080
Subscript One 2081
Subscript Two2082
Subscript Three2083
Subscript Four2084
Subscript Five2085
Subscript Six2086
Subscript Seven2087
Subscript Eight2088
Subscript Nine2089
Subscript Minus208B
Subscript Plus208A

What is Unicode?

Computers deal with numbers. The storage of each letter and character is done by assigning a number. Different systems used for assigning those numbers a are called character encoding. Even though there were hundreds of character encoding, these were not enough to cover all the languages and symbols.

To solve this problem, Unicode Inc. came up with an idea to replacing existing different character encoding schemes with a universal text-encoding standard that provides a unique number for every character, irrelevance to the platform, device, application or language. The most recent version, Unicode 13.0 consists of 143,696 graphic characters, 163 format characters, and 65 control characters) covering 154 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets and emoji.

APPLICATIONS OF UNICODE:

Unicode was highly successful in unifying the character sets and is now adopted by all modern software, operating systems, search engines, applications, and the World Wide Web. 

Some of the applications of Unicode are:

1. Writing superscripts and subscripts in Web:

The subscript or superscript is a character (the character might be a number or a letter) that is set slightly below or above the normal line respectively. Superscripts and subscripts are mostly used in formulas (Chemical and Mathematical), mathematical expressions and specifications of chemical compounds and isotopes.

eg, x₀, x⁰, etc.

Each superscript or subscript character is preceded by a normal x.

2. Writing Equations in Web:

Unicode characters help us to write various equations (like polynomial, chemical, trigonometric, cartesian, differential and so on. ) in the plain-text form on the web.

eg. The second equations of motion is:

  • s = ut + ½ at²

3. Writing Chemical and Algebraic Formulas in Web

Unicode characters help us to write many chemical and algebraic formulas and equations in proper form without markup with proper superscripts and superscripts. 

eg. The molecular formula of water is H₂0.

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