I was studying for a differential equations class and came upon some information about $RLC$ circuits. I know the $R$ stands for resistance (makes sense) and $C$ stands for capacitor (this also makes sense to me). So why does $L$ stand for the inductor, as opposed to the letter $I$ (or any other letter)?

After some preliminary searches, all I could turn up was that $L$ stood for the inductance (roughly speaking). I noticed the units here were "henrys" so I thought it might be related to the name of the person that the units were named for, but this turned up Joseph Henry. Alas, I'm left wondering...

Why is the letter $L$ used to represent an inductor in $RLC$ circuits?


marked as duplicate by Community May 23 at 19:30

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  • $\begingroup$ Also with the below answer, $I$ is already used for current. $\endgroup$ – Triatticus May 23 at 20:44

According to Wikipedia

"It is customary to use the symbol $L$ for inductance, in honour of the physicist Heinrich Lenz".


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