So what does that squiggle mean?
Here’s a wonderful reference website! This group from the University of Nottingham has a project dedicated to explaining the strange symbols you often see when astronomers and physicists start trying to explain how the universe works. The project, called Sixty Symbols, has created videos that discuss each of the symbols on their site. They’ve finished the original sixty, and are now adding more. (They’re up to 72 – click through to the second page to find the other twelve.)
Strictly speaking, not all of them can fairly be called symbols. Some, like the Star of Bethlehem or Schrodinger’s Cat, are related to events or concepts that can be discussed in the context of the fields of astronomy and physics. Even so, these videos are a great reference for those of us who enjoy explaining the universe. Expect to see links to Sixty Symbols in future posts.
And let’s give these guys some traffic!