The universal constant of Gravitation,

G ~= 6.670 x 10-11 n.m2/kg2


G ~= 1.477 x 10-10 lb-force.ft2/lb-mass2

Applying G to the gravitational force formula

F = G m M / d2,

where m is the mass of one body, M is the mass of the other body, and d is the distance between them, yields the force in pounds of force or newtons.

(I think ME123 means N/kg and not simply N).

The letter G was invented in the 3rd century BC by a Roman named Spurius Carvilius Ruga.

He derived it by adding a vertical stroke to the end of the letter C, and put it alphabetically in the place formerly occupied by Z, which is why the Greek has 'EZH' where Latin has 'EFGH'. (For what happened to F, see the history of digamma.)

The letter had to be invented because the Etruscans--who borrowed the alphabet from the Greeks and gave it to the Romans--didn't have the sound of G. They used C (Greek gamma), K (Greek kappa), and Q (Greek qoppa) for their K sound, so when the alphabet got transferred to Latin, a new letter was necessary for its voiced velar G.

Guitar chords: G major


 1|||11  3rd fret

Notes:  1  : G
        3  : B
        5  : D
fuzzball = G = g-file

G pref.,suff.

[SI] See quantifiers.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Don't forget, G is also an abbreviation for the SI prefix giga. It basically multiplies the connected unit's size by 10^9, or 1000000000, also known as a "billion" to many English-speaking people.

Some giga-units used in real-life examples:

  • SI units
  • A Boeing 747's mass is 0.4 Gg (giga-gram).
  • A century is 3 Gs (giga-second).
  • The Moon is 0.4 Gm (giga-metre) away from Earth.
  • Other SI giga-units tend to be really huge and impractical.
  • Non-SI
  • The universe is about 14 Gyr (giga-year) old. The Earth was formed 5 Gyr ago.

When measuring memory sizes in computer science, as with kilo (k) and mega (M), giga has been reused as the power of two which is closest to the metric prefix. In the case of giga, it is 2^30 = 1073741824. This ambiguity of 7% is quite significant. A hard-drive manufacturer may advertise a "40 GB (gigabyte) drive" in the 10^9 sense, which works out to 3 GB less than the 2^30 sense. A new unambiguous prefix has been suggested: gibi (Gi), which is only 2^30.

G is the seventh letter of the English alphabet. The ASCII code for G is 71, and g is 103. This node brought to you by the letter G, obviously.
Related thingies:


G is the seventh letter of the English alphabet, the stock symbol for Gilette, and there's even a movie titled G, which I'm told came out in 1974. In English, it commonly represents a voiced velar plosive stop (IPA: /g/), but also represents a voiced palato-alveolar affricate (/ɟ/). Written after the letter N, it represents the voiced velar nasal (/ŋ/), and when appearing before the letter H, can be either silent or pronounced as a voiceless labiodental fricative (/f/). More interesting and less technical than all this, however, is the story behind where this letter came from.

Originally, back when people spoke Phoenician (around 1000 BCE), the /g/ sound was represented with a letter that looked like a large caret (^) or upside-down V which was called gimel ("throwing stick") or gaml ("camel"; so named because of the camel's hump?) in the Semitic languages. When the Greeks adopted the Phoenician writing system, they modified the shape into something like an vertical-flipped L (Γ or Γ) and called it "gamma," still using it to represent the /g/ sound. Before long, the system reached Italy, and they used the gamma for a /k/ sound because they didn't have a /g/ sound. When the Romans came along, (after changing the shape slightly to something between a large < and a (, which is even in Unicode as U10302, in the Old Italic set U10300) they also used the gamma for the /k/ sound. However, they did have a /g/ sound, and using the current shape for both sounds wasn't working. In 312 BCE, Spurius Carvilius Ruga added a stroke to it to create what is now the letter G. The original shape was used to represent the /k/ sound, and the new G shape was used for the /g/ sound. The new letter took the place of the Z, which was deemed unnecessary, and was tossed (only to be reintroduced later).

Those crazy Romans. Inventing letters and whatnot.

For the curious, the serif at the top right of the Latin script lowercase G (you know, the typewriter-style G, with the two loops) is called the "ear." The top loop is the "closed counter," the bottom one is the "closed loop" and the bridge that connects the two is cleverly called the "link." The upwards serif at the top of the capital G and the leftwards serif at the top of the interior line are "bracketings," the downwards serif at the top of the letter is the "barb," and the downwards serif at the base of the interior line is the "spur."

Ask a Linguist:
Encyclopedia Britannica:
deviantArt, 'The Typographic G':
Muke's writeup in International Phonetic Alphabet

Alongside Planck's constant and the speed of light in a vacuum, the gravitational constant, G, is one of the most important and fundamental constants in our universe. However, since Isaac Newton introduced it in 1686, the value of G has been always been a little controversial. Despite centuries of physicists working on finding ever more accurate values (after the speed of light, the gravitational constant was the first to be measured scientifically), G is still the least accurately known physical constant. As an example, by the late 90s, Planck's constant was known to an accuracy 10000 times greater than G!

To make things worse, new experiments started to produce results wildly different from this "accepted" value, in some cases, up to 1% away from previous results. Some experiments showed G had a space and time variation of over 0.5% - this was fundamentally opposed to accepted theory. Was Newton wrong?
Not in this case; it's just that G is so hard determine. Compared to other forces, gravity is incredibly weak, meaning accurately measuring its effects is much harder than is the case with other forces.

Almost every experiment done to measure G, including the original one performed by Henry Cavendish, is based around a bar on the end of a thin fibre being placed near some objects of known mass. The attraction between the bar and the masses causes the fibre to twist, and by measuring that twist, it is possible to ascertain the forces involved, and hence G:

From the side:
                    | <--- fibre
+------+            |           +------+
|      |            |           |      |
| MASS |   +----------------+   | MASS |
|  1   |   |       BAR      |   |  2   |
|      |   +----------------+   |      |
|      |                        |      |
+------+                        +------+

From the top:
+------+   +----------------+   | MASS |
| MASS |   |       BAR      |   |  2   |
|  1   |   +----------------+   +------+

There are a number of problems with this experiment that bring in serious systematic errors. One of these is that internal friction in the fibre can cause an unaccounted for inaccuracy when the amount of fibre twist is measured. Also, the dimensions and mass of the bar had to be known to an incredible accuracy that challenged engineering techniques to the limit.

In 2000, a team from the University of Washington successfully addressed these issues to produce a new value for G.
The first thing this team did (as other more recent attempts had) was to suspend the fibre from a rotating disc and instead of just measuring a single twisting displacement, the fibre was continually rotated between the masses, so that perturbations in the rotation can be measured and averaged over time.
Secondly, the bar, which was usually a thin shaft with dumbells on either end, was replaced by a thin rectangle of metal, hung from the side. It turns out that this completely removes the need to know the characteristics of the pendulum at all!
Also, to prevent the fibre from twisting at all, the speed of the rotationg disc was controlled by feedback from the pendulum, so that the rotating disc's speed was perturbed, not the pendulum's. As well as making the perturbation's easier to measure, the effects of internal fibre friction are completely eliminated.

The end result is that we have a figure for G which is now 1000 times less accurate than Planck's constant; a relative standard uncertainty of 1.5 x 10-4. Considering the accuracy had only been improving by about a factor of 10 per century, a ten fold improvement in a few years is quite extraordinary.

A   B   C   D   E   F G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

'G' or 'g' is:

G (jee)


G is the seventh letter of the English alphabet, and a vocal consonant. It has two sounds; one simple, as in gave, go, gull; the other compound (like that of j), as in gem, gin, dingy. See Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 231-6, 155, 176, 178, 179, 196, 211, 246.

The form of G is from the Latin, in the alphabet which it first appeared as a modified form of C. The name is also from the Latin, and probably comes to us through the French. Etymologically it is most closely related to a c hard, k y, and w; as in corn, grain, kernel; kin L. genus, Gr. ; E. garden, yard; drag, draw; also to ch and h; as in get, prehensile; guest, host (an army); gall, choler; gust, choose. See C.

2. Mus.

G is the name of the fifth tone of the natural or model scale; -- called also sol by the Italians and French. It was also originally used as the treble clef, and has gradually changed into the character represented in the margin. See Clef. G# (G sharp) is a tone intermediate between G and A.


© Webster 1913.

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