Saturday, 20 May 2017

ι | iota

The Greek letter ι (iota) was derived from the ancient Phoenician letter 𐤉 (yōd) which meant “arm”. The archaic Cyrillic iota looks exactly the same.

The lower-case ι looks too similar to the Latin letters i and l to be widely used as a symbol on its own. Still, it has been adopted in maths and sciences, for instance:

  • in biochemistry: ι-toxin, a pore forming toxin from Clostridium perfringens
  • in mathematical logic: a definite description operator
  • in natural product chemistry: ι-carrageenan, a polysaccharide extracted from red algae that gels in the presence of calcium ions
More photos of letters, numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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