Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chemical symbols in Unicode

I was told that the Unicode atom symbol (which appeared in my previous post) is not represented correctly in other browsers, or, indeed, other PCs. This is because not all PCs have the fonts installed that can show these characters; or even when the font is there, one has to tell the browser to use it, e.g. <font></font>. That’s annoying.

Given a number of various symbols present in Unicode, I am surprised how little of them are genuinely related to chemistry, without having any other meaning. In fact, just three. Two of them, and , mean the same and are quite useless — I’d prefer them rotated 90° so one could attach them by “bonds” to something else inline. The third, , means “chemical term” (in dictionary etc.); the scales, , even though may appear related to chemistry, really mean “legal term”. See the little table below for these and a few others which may be of some chemical relevance.

CharacterNameUnicodeDecimalHexadecimalMeaning
SUNU+2609&#9737;&#x2609;Sun (astrology) or gold (alchemy)
FIRST QUARTER MOONU+263D&#9789;&#x263d;Moon (astrology) or silver (alchemy)
MERCURYU+263F&#9791;&#x263f;Mercury (astrology) or mercury (alchemy)
FEMALE SIGNU+2640&#9792;&#x2640;Venus (astrology) or copper (alchemy)
EARTHU+2641&#9793;&#x2641;Earth (astrology) or antimony (alchemy)
MALE SIGNU+2642&#9794;&#x2642;Mars (astrology) or iron (alchemy)
JUPITERU+2643&#9795;&#x2643;Jupiter (astrology) or tin (alchemy)
SATURNU+2644&#9796;&#x2644;Saturn (astrology) or lead (alchemy)
BENZENE RINGU+232C&#9004;&#x232c;Benzene ring (Kekulé structure)
BENZENE RING WITH CIRCLEU+23E3&#9187;&#x23e3;Benzene ring (delocalised)
SKULL AND CROSSBONESU+2620&#9760;&#x2620;Poison (chemistry etc.)
RADIOACTIVE SIGNU+2622&#9762;&#x2622;Radioactivity
BIOHAZARD SIGNU+2623&#9763;&#x2623;Biohazard
SCALESU+2696&#9878;&#x2696;Legal term
ALEMBICU+2697&#9879;&#x2697;Chemical term
ATOM SYMBOLU+269B&#9883;&#x269b;Nuclear installation

1 comment:

Lee-Anne said...

unicode U+21CC Chemical Equilibrium

unicode U+21CB Chemical Equilibrium

unicode U+263E Last Quarter Noon