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comment Using a built-in symbol as a variable
Thank you very much to all the commenters for their very helpful suggestions. It's true, I don't need to use N as the variable name, but it is quite a common choice to stand for the number of something, e.g. the number of molecules in the kinetic theory of gases. The question applies if I wanted to give a formula incorporating the natural-seeming "N" as might be found in conventional textbooks, while also using Mathematica to differentiate it, plot it, etc. In the past, I have worked around by using a different symbol, but I wondered if there was another way.