Turned Capital letter L (pointing to the left, with serifs)
Philippe Verdy
verdy_p at wanadoo.fr
Tue Jan 5 10:26:52 CST 2016
And given the context of use on the document, where it is a measurement of
time in seconds (it is a mean daily time drift, if you don't read German),
some variants of T/Tau is certainly a best option. The other variables in
the additive formula were also related to time and where also based on "t",
so the formula used various variants of the T/Tau letter.
Intuitively when reading the formula and description I undoubtly pronounced
it "tau" (there was no other occurence of the tau letter in the formula,
but the fact it used a bold capital may be related to the fact that the
mean daily time drift in this formula is nearly constant, with very tiny
variations that the formula wants to take into account in a differential.
Traditionally, consitnats or near constants are using bold capital letters,
and it was made to contrast it with the true time "t" which is obviously
not constant (|dt / dTau| is largely above 1, most of the time except in
very few short periods of time in the year, but the formula is not
interested in finding/predicting those events but to estimate how the
geocentric time evolves over long periods thru years in order to compute
calendars).
The discovery of the cursive variant of pi is interesting but largely too
far graphically : it is is single curved stroke like a turned "J", but here
the "7" shaped letter clearly uses two strokes, like Tau) and semantically
(pi would be related to an angle measurement, not to time, even if the
formula is related to the pseudo-elliptic revolution of Earth around Sun,
it would not be coherent with the additive differential formula cumulating
with time "t".
In summary for me it's just a bold capital Greek letter Tau (in
cursive/itialic style, like "t", because it is a true variable and not a
symbol like the differential operator). The printer however chose to use a
decorative variant of the bold digit 7 to represent it, because it had it
in its collections of metal fonts (e.g. for titling on cover pages, where
titles/headings are customarily using decorative such bold font styles).
May be if you read the rest of the text including the presentation, you
will discover it more completely or even spelled explicitly in sentences.
But we have no audio records to confirm it: the reader has to interpret it
but it is easier to read and understand if you just identify it as "Tau"
rather than "T" or worse as "7".
2016-01-04 19:41 GMT+01:00 Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>:
> On 4 Jan 2016, at 16:54, Asmus Freytag (t) <asmus-inc at ix.netcom.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > On 1/4/2016 7:49 AM, Michael Everson wrote:
> >> Excellent!
> >> Looks like a candidate character for encoding. I’m sure I have some
> examples of good font designs for the old character in one of my books.
> >
> > Admitting that a Greek letter inherently makes more sense than an "et"
> as a variable name, I would still need to understand why "pi" would make a
> sensible mnemonic choice for the variable in Gauss' treatise, before being
> confident that we've made the correct identification. The more so, as
> the use of non-cursive pi for "perihelion" in the same work is clearly
> mnemonic.
>
> Certainly it does look more like a very common variant of “tau” than “pi”
>
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
>
>
>
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