Sorry if this is nit-picky, but I'm confused as to how to write Gauss's law.

Both my lecturer and this website state Gauss's law as $$\oint\limits_S \vec{E} \cdot d\vec{S} = \frac{q}{\epsilon_0}$$

But if my understanding of integral symbols is correct, surely a closed surface (as in Gauss's law) should use the symbol $∯$ or the closed integral symbol with two lines through it?

Is this just convention or is there an actual reason behind it?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's just notation. People are lazy. $\endgroup$
    – Ishan Deo
    Dec 27, 2019 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


You're correct.

However, that little subscript S under the integral indicates "surface". You may also see subscripts like Ω or Σ.

Also, websites like Wikipedia make it a point to bold the integral sign, differentiating it from the usual double or triple integrals, while using the convention of just one sign.

But in class, or in other websites, you are expected to get the context.


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