In physics, there are a large number of physical quantities we include while performing calculations. To make it more convenient for users and easier to use and remember, we often use notations/symbols to represent these physical quantities. These notations/symbols we use to represent physical quantities when solving problems related to them or for other purposes are symbols.
In physics, we symbolise everything with an English/Greek alphabet, such as for the speed of light, wavelength, velocity, and so on.
Let us assume that a lady drives her car at a speed of 30 kmph and reaches her hometown in 2 hrs and if she drives at 50 kmph, she reaches in 1.5 hr. So, if we have to represent these units as symbols, how can we do that?
In this article, you will find the most popular physics symbols and also those we commonly use in physics with their names, the type of quantities along with their respective units in tabular format.
Examples of Physical Symbols
Also, the symbols used for physical quantities are vastly different. Sometimes, the symbol may be the first letter of the physical quantities they represent, like ‘d’, which stands for distance. Other times, they may be completely unrelated to the name of the physical quantities, such as c symbolises the speed of light. They may also be in the form of Greek characters, like λ, which stands for wavelength.
Below is an elaborated list of the most commonly used list of symbols in physics with their SI units. Please note that a particular symbol might relate to more than one quantity.
Symbols for Physical Quantities Related to Space and Time
Below are some symbols that are used frequently in physics with their names, the type of quantities and their respective SI units in tabular format.
Physics Symbols Related to Mechanics
Physical Symbols Related to Fluid Mechanics
Symbols Related to Solid Mechanics
Physical Quantities Related to Thermal Physics
Physical Symbol Related to Wave and Optics
Physics Symbols Related to Electricity and Magnetism
Symbols Used in Modern Physics
From the above text on physics symbols, we understand that in Physics, we use various symbols or notations to denote different quantities. The denotations make the representation of the quantities easier.
It was also interesting to see that some physics symbols were very relatable (like “d” for distance) while some were unrelatable (like “c” for the speed of light or “λ” for wavelength). Also, we noticed that a particular symbol was related to more than one quantity.