Template talk:Subatomic particle/symbol

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Potential reference: http://pdg.lbl.gov/2007/reviews/namingrpp.pdf - SkyLined (talk) 11:45, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Exotic atoms[edit]

Should probably be moved to the templates in Category:Nuclide templates.SkyLined (talk) 12:14, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Protons and Neutrons[edit]

  • Should proton and neutron be
     ? It's currently the later
    -- SkyLined (talk) 18:08, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Use the following:
  • {{SubatomicParticle|Proton}} for
  • {{SubatomicParticle|Proton+}} for
  • {{SubatomicParticle|Neutron}} for
  • {{SubatomicParticle|Neutron0}} for
I'm still not clear on when to use which one.
-- SkyLined (talk) local time:20:46, 11 January 2018 (CET), server time: 17:34, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

When information about the charge is useful, I would use the charged versions, otherwise I'd use the non-charged version. When writing nuclear equations, I would definitely use the charged versions.Headbomb (talk) 17:47, 14 April 2008 (UTC)


Some particles and represented using italic characters, because they are at the pdg webpage. I assume this is the default, but I may be wrong. I'd like to change the others to italic as well, if that's how they're normally displayed, but I am not sure.

The symbols aren't by default italicized. Whether they are italicized or not is entirely dependent on what convention a particular editor/publisher uses. I think that by default, things shouldn't be italicized. Headbomb (talk) 18:47, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I believe we should enforce the standard rules for mathematical notation: Roman and lowercase Greek symbols must be Italic and uppercase Greek symbols must not. Since the advent of typesetting capable of rendering symbols in this way, I can't think of any publication which does not follow these rules. It has the important advantage of making the symbols distinct from the ordinary flow of the text. Since adherence to this convention is very poor throughout Wikipedia, adding this rule to the template would immediately improve many articles. I propose that standard italicization be made the default and non-italic be added as an option (for when a particle appears in text that is already italicized, say). -- Xerxes (talk) 13:25, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Those are not math symbols (variables) Xerves. They are equivalent to the chemical symbols of elements. As for italics or not, it's completely up to the editor. PDG italicize greek symbols, but these folks don't, in fact they italicize latin symbolsHeadbomb (ταλκ · κοντριβς) 12:35, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, they are mathematical symbols; specifically, they are symbols denoting fields. You can draw a distinction between symbolic usage and English-name usage sometimes: "K-N scattering is very interesting." but "The K-meson was the first strange particle discovered." Also, you seem to be confused as to the rule: lowercase Roman, uppercase Roman and lowercase Greek are always Italic; uppercase Greek is always non-Italic. The papers you cite both appear to correctly apply this rule. -- Xerxes (talk) 20:38, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
The CDF article doesn't use italics for greek letters. Check out the Sigma and Lambda symbols right on the page 3 and 4.



) = 21.2+2.0

This is another example. On page three you find:

This isospin 3/2 multiplet contains two Ξ's with ordinary charge assignments,

The rule that seems to be followed is Roman = lowercase and uppercase italics, Greek = lowercase italics, uppercase no italics. I don't know why they don't use italics all the time though. Headbomb (ταλκ · κοντριβς) 21:35, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I don't know anymore. I can sorta see italics on certain zoom level, but when I zoom in, they look unitalicized. Headbomb (ταλκ · κοντριβς) 21:37, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Also Sky, could you drop by my talk page and check the comments from Crzycheetah for the list of baryons? Templates seems to be causing display problems.Headbomb (ταλκ · κοντριβς) 12:35, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Do you have some examples that we can use to back up this change, should we decide to make it?     — SkyLined {talkcontribs 11:43, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

W- boson[edit]

I noticed that you changed the - to a − in the code to fix a bug. What was the bug & what difference does it make? Should we change all the - for −'s? Headbomb (talk) 17:36, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually I changed "-;" to "−" because:
    • The semi-colon was there by accident (hence the word bug, which was a bit misleading)
    • Where possible, we should use − (the minus sign) instead of - (dash) to display negative numbers.
      -- SkyLined (talk) 18:06, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Alright, well I've already replaced every - with a − so that's that.Headbomb (talk) 18:09, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Should the particle symbols be serif?[edit]

Should the particle symbols be rendered in a serif font by default. This would definitely solve neutrino looking like a v and the photon looking like a "Y" problem. (TimothyRias (talk) 11:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC))

Well, whatever problem there was before. The current sandbox version (see the physics particle talk page) has no problem with serif gammas and overlines in any browser I have tried (IE, FF and Opera). (TimothyRias (talk) 22:40, 13 January 2009 (UTC))
Also, forcing serif is not actual choosing a font, put choosing a font style, in a way much like forcing bold or italics. Most of the world only uses the serif version of lowercase greek characters especially when used in a mathematical context. So much so, that most people only recognize the serifed versions. (In fact some style guides dictate that all mathematical characters should be in serif.) It thus makes a lot of sense to make have this template produce serifed symbols at the very least for the lowercase greek symbols. (TimothyRias (talk) 10:03, 19 January 2009 (UTC))
I'm not necessarily advocating serifs, but I agree that some change must be done. The way things are done currently we end up with a gamma that looks like an y, a nu that looks like a v, nu_mu looks like v_u and nu_tau looks like v_t. It's awfull. Dauto (talk) 16:58, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Serif is too big a departure from the main text. A new non-serif font would be better suited. I might even propose it for wide-spread adoption on wikipedia.
For example the DéjaVu Sans family:
DéjaVu Sans


Lucida Sans Unicode


Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 21:39, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I think Dejavu Sans would definitely be an improvement over what we are using right now. I'm not say that it is great (it's not), but is better. I think I would probably still avoid using it. I really like the math mode: , , and . I know it does not align perfectly and the size isn't exactly correct, but I think that's not such a big price to pay for a good font. Dauto (talk) 01:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, that is actually the problem with math mode characters, it isn't a font at all. They are images that have to be created server side and then send to the end user. As such there are all sort of objections to using them. Some technical (added strain on the servers, bandwith unfriendly for both the server and the client etc.), some stylisticly, the generated characters will not accurately reproduce the size, alignment, and weight of the surrounding characters. IMO these last factors make the use of inline mathmode look really bad onscreen.
If you really like the font so much, you should get yourself a computer modern (the font used by TeX) truetype font and configure your browser to use that as a default. (TimothyRias (talk) 07:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC))
  • That's actually not a bad idea. Thanks for the suggestion. Still, the average user may not have the knowlege or the desire to play around with their browser's font. WP ought to have an minimaly acceptable default font for its templates. I agree that the serif font may help solve some of the problems I was refering to but will introduce some new problems of its own. What do you think of the cursive font? Might be our best choice. Dauto (talk) 17:24, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
As for the DejaVu family fonts. Picking any particular font is problematic because it depends on wether the viewer has the particular font installed. DejaVu, for example is typically not found on windows based machines (mine doesn't for example). The result is that the browser will pick a font it feels appropriate. (The DejaVu line above shows as Times for me). This is a general limitation of web design. It is better to stick with one of the generic font types:
Sans-serif: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.
Serif: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.
Monospace: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.
Cursive: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.
Fantasy: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.
for comparison wikipedia default: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.
The browser will then pick its default choice for each of this font classes, which should a well considered pick considering the amount of time spent on developing browsers. In any case if we decide on any particular font, CSS guidelines specify that we should choose one of these as a fallback option.
An alternative to the generic fonts is to choose a font that would probably be found on any system. On such option is Symbol. It is one of the standard fonts used for postscript and as such should be omnipresent. The primary purpose of this font is to provide for typesetting of greek characters for mathematical notation. It should thus suit our purpose.
Symbol: αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσςτυφχψω.

(TimothyRias (talk) 08:21, 22 January 2009 (UTC))

The problem with symbol is that it has serifs (and it's basically Times New Roman). Lucida Sans however, comes with all windows and the Mac have a variant, Lucida grande. This could be be implemented as
<span style="font-family:Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, Symbol"</span>
saying essentially use Lucida Sans Unicode, and if you don't have it, Lucida Grande, and failing that one, Symbol. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 08:38, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

use of the asterix operator[edit]

Some symbols use the asterterix operaror ∗. This character by default is typeset with some whitespace to left of it. This cause a disaligned in some symbols. Anybody know of an alternative character that does not share this problem? (TimothyRias (talk) 10:06, 19 January 2009 (UTC))

Asterisk#Encodings has a bunch of variants. One of those surely works. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 07:29, 21 January 2009 (UTC)


Upsilon currently displays as '?'. What's up with that? Stannered (talk) 16:14, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I'll take a look at it.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 22:45, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. Turns out that Skylined probably used a text editor that didn't recognized the ramshorned upsilon, and it got lost in the copy past. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 23:07, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
I thought that seemed like the likely explanation, but didn't want to risk making it worse! Thanks for the quick fix :) Stannered (talk) 08:25, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Oops! I recall actually looking it up and being surprised that it's symbol was "?"... don't know where I found that info - it is obviously wrong. Tnx for fixing this :)     — SkyLined {talkcontribs 19:10, 18 February 2009 (UTC)


Please add anything you add here to the list at Template:SubatomicParticle/list so that others can find it and use it.

    — SkyLined (talk) 15:07, 10 May 2009 (UTC)


And while you're at it, add it to the links at Template:SubatomicParticle/link as well, so people can create a symbol with a link to the page describing the particle...

    — SkyLined (talk) 15:13, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Superscript symbols[edit]

There is some relevant discussion at Template talk:SubatomicParticle#Minus sign. Hqb (talk) 18:02, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

List incomplete - problem in Special:Prefixindex ?[edit]


The list is incomplete - eg. upsilon is missing. Since the list is automagically generated, the problem is not in the template itself, but must be in MediaWiki code for Special:Prefixindex/. Can somebody confirm this?     SkyLined (talk) 14:49, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Edit request for top lambda[edit]

The top lambda baryons have the subscript "t" jammed up too close to the "Λ"; on my display the crossbar of the t actually touches and and it looks awkward:

Please add a &thinsp; to the subscript, making them "top lambda=
" and "top lambda+=
". The bottom and charmed equivalents don't suffer as much (

Thank you! (talk) 15:35, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

The real problem lies with the {{su}} template. See Λ
(using {{su|b=t}} to create the subscript) vs Λt (using <nowiki>t<nowiki> to create the subscript). Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 17:19, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
IMHO The real problem lies with {{su}} needing to provide one generic and simple way of creating both superscript and subscript in all browsers, and having it render the way people expect it to with all possible combinations of characters when there is nothing in HTML/Unicode that's specifically designed to do this. The short answer: AFAIK this is not possible without introducing exceptions for specific situations where the generic solution is not good enough. I believe this is such an edge-case, and it would be easiest fixed by adding the thinspace. SkyLined (talk) 19:25, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
@Headbomb: @SkyLined: Fixing {{su}} seems like a Big Project. Since making the request I figured out that the edits I need to make is actually to some sub-pages that are not protected, so I went ahead and did them. I don't mean to preempt discussion, though. Is it worth starting one at Template talk:Su? (talk) 02:44, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I've reverted those changes. It's extremely bad practice to come up with hacks like that, especially ones that add characters that shouldn't be there. The solution is to fix {{su}}, not hack this template. I've started a discussion at Template talk:Su#subscript/superscript height matching, so feel free to give your input there.Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 11:37, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
normally your browser would figure out the required spacing between two chars, but since {{su}} requires spacing between three chars, this won't work and you may have to manually do it. 17:52, 23 August 2016 (UTC)