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ou-ligature as a mathematical symbol--ideosyncrasy or establishedusage?

Short question:

Mylonas and Whitney had an article in TUGBOAT on their greek fonts, and
they show an example of the use of the `ou'-ligature (and the `OU' as well)
in a physics textbooks as a _mathematical symbol_.

Does this correspond to an established practice or is it an ideosyncrasy of
the authors?

--J"org Knappen.