I'm writing a scientific paper, and I seen a lot of times the abbreviation # for 'number of' or similar, for example if we are counting events, I seen expressed the results as,

# type1 = 100, # type2 = 140 ...

Is a formal way to express it? or is colloquial, I could not find this information explicitly nowhere.

  • 1
    In math, some people use #A, others |A| to denote the cardinality of the set A. I would assume that a vast majority of people in related fields would understand this symbol in that way.
    – ttnick
    May 20 at 7:46
  • 3
    Why not assign a proper variable name $N_i$ to type $i$? I have no doubt people will understand the style you propose, but it wouldn't be my choice and the syntax is not as well defined as a formal mathematical statement. I realize LaTeX is not supported in the comments here, what I mean with $$ is to use mathematical typesetting like the one available in LaTeX.
    – rhermans
    May 20 at 11:17
  • 1
    As you say, it's quite common to see # used for e.g. detector counts in papers. It's a rather self-descriptive notation in that it's not necessary to formally introduce a variable. However, it can become a bit messy if it's a quantity included in formulas or repeated several times, in which case rhermans' suggestion would be the preferred approach.
    – Anyon
    May 20 at 14:23
  • 1
    What are you asking? If it's OK to do? (Personally, I'd write ": " not "=", but that's not what you asked) May 20 at 15:14
  • Possibly related to academia.stackexchange.com/questions/90816
    – Kendall
    Jun 5 at 22:06


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