# Nuclear Chemistry symbol

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• #37067
nwbsbeth
Participant

I came across this equation (see attached) in a chapter about nuclear reactions and their role in chemistry.

The comparison symbols is, according to what I see in Lesson 5 of the NFB Math course, page 10 is an alternative form of Greek letter "alpha" and is brailled with dots 46 -4-1.   But in Lesson 16, page 23 under "Ambiguous Signs"  it is shown to mean "varies is" and brailled with dots 456-full cell.

So what is the correct way to braille this?

Thank you!

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#37071
Lindy Walton
Moderator

Yes, you have come across one of those print signs that can be misinterpreted unless you dig deeper. When in doubt, look for clues in the surrounding text regarding the function of the sign. (Or Ask An Expert! Not just here, but you could ask a math or science teacher or scientist as well.)

In your example, the sign (that looks somewhat like a "pinch bug" or earwig to me) is a sign of comparison, indicating that radiation is proportional to (or "varies as") distance ("d") in the ratio expressed (one over d-squared). In your transcription, use the comparison symbol listed in Rule XX of the Nemeth Code on page 136. (456, 123456)

In the UEB with Nemeth lesson material, the symbol is introduced in Lesson 6 (6.7.15) and compared with the Greek letter alpha in Lesson 13 (13.7). You can reassure yourself that this sign is not the Greek letter alpha by looking to see if there is a definition for alpha nearby. Is alpha defined with a certain value, for example? Or are alpha particles under discussion? Is there such a thing as "radiation-alpha"?

Thank you for sharing this example.

Lindy

#37073
nwbsbeth
Participant

Thank you Lindy!  That was my guess, but I wanted to be sure!

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