Gamma (uppercase Γ, lowercase γ; _el. Γάμμα) is the third letter of the
Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numeralsit has a value of 3. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Gimel Ґ.
In Modern Greek, it represents either a
voiced velar fricativeIPA|/ɣ/ or a voiced palatal fricativeIPA|/ʝ/. In Ancient Greek, it represented a voiced velar stopIPA|/ɡ/. Before velars, it represents a velar nasalIPA|/ŋ/ in Modern as well as Ancient Greek, and a double gamma represents a prenasalized voiced velar stop(IPA|/ŋɡ/).
The gamma can be combined with other letters or itself.
*A double gamma (γγ) is pronounced like the ng in "jumping"
*A gamma with xi (γξ) is pronounced roughly like the nx in "Sphinx"
*(γχ) is pronounced like the nkh in "ankh"
*A gamma combined with kappa (γκ) is pronounced like the nk in "banker"
Use as a symbol or a term
Gamma is often used to denote a variable in
mathematicsand physics.In certain areas it has a specific meaning, such as representing gamma radiationin nuclear physicsand the Lorentz factorin theory of relativity. In mathematics, there is a gamma function(usually written as Γ-function.)
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