OK! That's becoming clearer. And doing the change at the column level does fix things. However, it still doesn't explain why the Spanish accented symbols worked but the mathematical symbols didn't. If it helps, originally I didn´t actually specify utf8 on the varchar, I did it at the database level. And, after performing the query:
SELECT default_character_set_name FROM information_schema.SCHEMATA S
WHERE schema_name = "schemaname";
I saw that it was in fact utf8 (I also know this because my Spanish accented characters are showing)
So, what might explain some of the utf8 characters working and others not working?
(As a side note, when I switch the collation between latin_1 and utf8 on the column in question, the inifinity symbol doesn't show and then does show which confuses me since I thought that collation was simply how entries are ordered.)
Any additional thoughts would be appreciated.