Beta

Beta (UK: /ˈbtə/, US: /ˈbtə/; uppercase Β, lowercase β, or cursive ϐ; Ancient Greek: βῆτα, translit. bē̂ta or Greek: βήτα vita) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 2. In Ancient Greek, beta represented the voiced bilabial plosive /b/. In Modern Greek, it represents the voiced labiodental fricative /v/. Letters that arose from beta include the Roman letter B and the Cyrillic letters Б and В.

Name

Like the names of most other Greek letters, the name of beta was adopted from the acrophonic name of the corresponding letter in Phoenician, which was the common Semitic word *bayt ('house'). In Greek, the name was βῆτα bêta, pronounced [bɛ̂ːta] in Ancient Greek. It is spelled βήτα in modern monotonic orthography, and pronounced [ˈvita].

History

The letter beta was derived from the Phoenician letter beth .

The letter Β had the largest number of highly divergent local forms. Besides the standard form (either rounded or pointed, ), there were forms as varied as (Gortyn), and (Thera), (Argos), (Melos), (Corinth), (Megara, Byzantium), (Cyclades).[1]

Uses

Algebraic numerals

In the system of Greek numerals, beta has a value of 2. Such use is denoted by a number mark: Β′.

Computing

Finance

Beta is used in finance as a measure of investment portfolio risk. Beta in this context is calculated as the covariance of the portfolio's returns with its benchmark's returns, divided by the variance of the benchmark's returns. A beta of 1.5 means that for every 1% change in the value of the benchmark, the portfolio's value changes by 1.5%.

International Phonetic Alphabet

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, Greek minuscule beta denotes a voiced bilabial fricative [β].

Meteorology

The name Beta was used as a name during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season as Hurricane Beta.

Mathematics and science

Beta is often used to denote a variable in mathematics and physics, where it often has specific meanings for certain applications. In physics a stream of unbound energetic electrons is commonly referred to as beta radiation or beta rays. In regression analysis, B symbolizes nonstandardized partial slope coefficients, whereas β represents standardized (standard deviation-score form) coefficients; in both cases, the coefficients reflect the change in the criterion Y per one-unit change in the value of the associated predictor X.

β is sometimes used as a placeholder for an ordinal number if α is already used.

In spaceflight, beta angle describes the angle between the orbit plane of a spacecraft or other body and the vector from the sun.

Rock climbing terminology

The term "beta" refers to advice on how to successfully complete a particular climbing route, boulder problem, or crux sequence.

Statistics

In statistics, beta may represent type II error, or regression slope.

Typography

In some high-quality typesetting, especially in the French tradition, a typographic variant of the lowercase letter without a descender is used within a word for ancient Greek: βίβλος is printed βίϐλος.[2]

In typesetting technical literature, it is a commonly made mistake to use the German letter ß (a s–z or s–s ligature) as a replacement for β. The two letters resemble each other in some fonts, but they are unrelated.[3]

Videotape formats

"Beta" can be used to refer to several consumer and professional videotape formats developed by Japan's Sony Corporation. Although similarly named, they are very different in function and obsolescence.

  • Betamax was the name of a domestic videotape format developed in the 1970s and 1980s. It competed with the Video Home System (VHS) format developed by the Japanese Victor Company, to which it eventually succumbed. The Betamax format was also marketed Betacord by (Sanyo); some cassettes were simply labeled "Beta." Betamax lost in the market and is an oft-used example of a technically superior solution that failed due to market forces.
  • Betacam, including Beta SP and DigiBeta, is a family of professional videotape formats launched in 1982 that was the de facto standard for professional video, advertising, and television production through the 2000s. The formats outlasted analog NTSC television, and their scarcity today is because the industry has moved to HD formats.

Character encodings

  • Greek Beta
CharacterΒβϐ
Unicode nameGREEK CAPITAL LETTER BETAGREEK SMALL LETTER BETAGREEK BETA SYMBOLMODIFIER LETTER SMALL BETAGREEK SUBSCRIPT SMALL LETTER BETA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode914U+0392946U+03B2976U+03D07517U+1D5D7526U+1D66
UTF-8206 146CE 92206 178CE B2207 144CF 90225 181 157E1 B5 9D225 181 166E1 B5 A6
Numeric character referenceΒΒββϐϐᵝᵝᵦᵦ
Named character referenceΒβ
DOS Greek1298115399
DOS Greek-2165A5215D7
Windows 1253194C2226E2
TeX\beta
  • Latin Beta
Character
Unicode nameLATIN CAPITAL LETTER BETALATIN SMALL LETTER BETA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode42932U+A7B442933U+A7B5
UTF-8234 158 180EA 9E B4234 158 181EA 9E B5
Numeric character referenceꞴꞴꞵꞵ
  • Mathematical Beta
Character𝚩𝛃𝛣𝛽𝜝𝜷
Unicode nameMATHEMATICAL BOLD
CAPITAL BETA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD
SMALL BETA
MATHEMATICAL ITALIC
CAPITAL BETA
MATHEMATICAL ITALIC
SMALL BETA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC
CAPITAL BETA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC
SMALL BETA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode120489U+1D6A9120515U+1D6C3120547U+1D6E3120573U+1D6FD120605U+1D71D120631U+1D737
UTF-8240 157 154 169F0 9D 9A A9240 157 155 131F0 9D 9B 83240 157 155 163F0 9D 9B A3240 157 155 189F0 9D 9B BD240 157 156 157F0 9D 9C 9D240 157 156 183F0 9D 9C B7
UTF-1655349 57001D835 DEA955349 57027D835 DEC355349 57059D835 DEE355349 57085D835 DEFD55349 57117D835 DF1D55349 57143D835 DF37
Numeric character reference𝚩𝚩𝛃𝛃𝛣𝛣𝛽𝛽𝜝𝜝𝜷𝜷
Character𝝗𝝱𝞑𝞫
Unicode nameMATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD CAPITAL BETA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD SMALL BETA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD ITALIC CAPITAL BETA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD ITALIC SMALL BETA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode120663U+1D757120689U+1D771120721U+1D791120747U+1D7AB
UTF-8240 157 157 151F0 9D 9D 97240 157 157 177F0 9D 9D B1240 157 158 145F0 9D 9E 91240 157 158 171F0 9D 9E AB
UTF-1655349 57175D835 DF5755349 57201D835 DF7155349 57233D835 DF9155349 57259D835 DFAB
Numeric character reference𝝗𝝗𝝱𝝱𝞑𝞑𝞫𝞫

These characters are used only as mathematical symbols. Stylized Greek text should be encoded using the normal Greek letters, with markup and formatting to indicate text style.

References

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