1. The third letter in the greek alphabet. Pronounced like a hard "G".

2. Used to describe Radiation with the smallest known possible wavelength. Gamma rays are also very dangerous and causes cancer when exposed to even moderate doses.
In finance, Gamma measures the change in delta for a small change in the price of the underlying instrument.

Mathematically, gamma can be considered to the be second derivative of the function pricing the underlying instrument.

Gamma is of interest since it is a measurement of how quickly delta changes. If a trader delta hedges her portfolio, gamma will measure how often she will have to rehedge, or rebalance her portfolio in order to stay hedged.

In economic terms, delta is the cost of hedging, while gamma is the cost of staying hedged.

In Finland, gamma-hydroxybutyrate is usually referred to as gamma.

A Russian brand of oil paints (and perhaps other paints, too - I was unable to find any information about them on the web). Their address is: ОАО <<ГАММА>>, Mockba, 105023, M. Cemehobckaя, 5

I purchased these paints when I was in Moscow in April and May of 2001. I saw then a little in the stores, but not much - most of the stores had western brands of paint. At Izmalosky Park, the same place where I purchased too much camera junk - a Leica Copy and a Kiev 60 - I found these paints.

The tubes that they were in looked cheap, but the price was right - between $1 and $2 for 46ml. tubes, with most of them about a dollar. The numbers below are the prices of the paints, in Rubles, those that have not already rubbed off. There were many more colors, I know, these are just the ones that I still have.

These tubes of oil paint, cheap, silvery in color, with black caps that would break if screwed on too hard, were actually pretty good paints. There appears to be some intention of an exteneded market, the labels in Russian, English, French, and German.

And they were cheap. But for the price, I cannot complain. Some of the paints seemed a bit watery, and the mixtures were inconsistent. You do get what you pay for.

Third letter of the Greek alphabet, capital Γ and lower-case γ. The proper shape of the lower-case letter is a 'v', curled to the left, with a tail extending down leftward: it is often miswritten (e.g. by mathematicians using it as a symbol) as going symmetrically downward and having a loop. The HTML codes for it are &Gamma; and &gamma;

It derives from the Phoenician letter for G, related to Hebrew ג gimel and Arabic ج jim (the pronunciation gim is still used in Egypt). The name means 'camel'.

The letter was adopted into the Etruscan alphabet with the value K, since Etruscan had no G sound. The perpendicular angle shifted to shape < which was then rounded to give the Roman letter C. This was used for both the K and G sounds of Latin, until the slave Spurius Carvilius Ruga added a stroke to form the G. The use of C for G persisted in the names Caius and Cnaeus.

In the Cyrillic alphabet the Greek letter-shape Г is retained.

In Ancient Greek it usually had the pronunciation of G in got, but in some circumstances it had the value of NG in sing. This was before the velar sounds kappa, chi, xi, and gamma itself: so lynx was actually written lygx, and angelos was written aggelos. This habit was borrowed by the Gothic alphabet. It also had this value before mu: so stigma had its first syllable pronounced sting, not stig. This special value of gamma was sometimes given the name agma.

In Modern Greek it developed a fricative pronunciation, a GH sound as in Arabic, or a stronger form of the Spanish sound in luego. A straightened form of this (to harmonize with the Roman alphabet) is used as the International Phonetic Alphabet sign for this sound. Before a front vowel this became palatal, giving in effect a consonantal Y sound. So ancient hagios 'holy' is modern ayos.

In special relativity, gamma (γ) is the symbol for a very common quantity,

 1/sqrt(1 - v^2/c^2)
where v is the velocity of the reference frame, and c is the speed of light. It is used in the Lorentz transformation relating quantities in two inertial reference frames as a constant of proportionality. As a function of v, it begins at 1 for v=0 and increases with increasing v such that it is infinite at v=c.

There are many important uses of γ in relativity. It is the constant of proportionality in time dilation and length contraction. The mechanical energy of a body is E = γmc2, which reduces to the famous E=mc2 when the particle velocity is zero. Similarly, the relativistic momentum is p=γmv, which reduces to the familiar Newtonian momentum when v<<c. Along with β=v/c, γ appears in many other relativistic situations, including relativistic electromagnetism.

Gam"ma (?), n.

The third letter (Γ, γ = Eng. G) of the Greek alphabet.


© Webster 1913.

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