Atmosphere And Weather

How to Convert Temperatures

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The ability to convert temperatures is a very useful skill to have, especially if you plan to do any international travel or you are interested in the sciences.

In the United States, we use the Fahrenheit scale. This scale was developed in Germany in 1724, but it has since been replaced by Celsius in the majority of the world.

Daniel Fahrenheit, who developed the scale which carries his name today based his scale off of a previous scale developed by Ole Rømer, a Danish scientist. Rømer’s scale had placed the freezing point of water at 7.5 degrees, human body temperature at 22.5, and the boiling point of water at 60 degrees.

Fahrenheit found this scale far too complex, so he first contracted the degree intervals by a factor of 4, so that one degree Fahrenheit was equal one quarter of a Rømer degree. He also adjusted the scale so that body temperature would equal 96 and the freezing point would be 32.

Future scientists would adjust this scale even further so that boiling point of water would equal 212 degrees. This also had the effect skewing the value for body temperature to 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

As you can see, this is quite a complex scale, which explains why it has been replaced in most of the world by the much more simple Celsius scale, which was created by a Swedish astronomer by the name of Anders Celsius.

On the Celsius scale, the freezing point of water is at the 0 degree mark, while the boiling point of it is 100 degrees. This makes it much more useful for scientists, as well as much easier to understand.

However, because the United States has still not adopted the Celsius scale, it is necessary to convert between the two. Such a conversion can be made relatively easily.

If converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit, the first thing that you need to do is multiply the Celsius value by 9. After that, divide it by 5, and then add 32.

On the contrary, if you are converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius, you must do the opposite. First, you must subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit value. Then, multiply by 5 and divide by 9, and you will arrive at the Celsius value.

As you can see, it is very easy to convert between the two if you have basic math skills.

There is also one last scale that is commonly used in the scientific community, known as Kelvin. This scale was first developed by William Thomson, otherwise known as Lord Kelvin, in 1848.

Thomson proposed that the lowest temperature physically possible was equal to -273 degrees Celsius, so his new scale used the Celsius intervals, but instead of 0 being the freezing point of water, it was the coldest temperature possible.

Kelvin has now been adopted as the official International System of Units (SI) unit for temperature, though it is mainly used in scientific applications, with little to no usage in everyday life.

Because it is based off of Celsius, it is very easy to convert to and from it.

To convert from Kelvin to Celsius, simply add 273. If you are converting the other way, you must subtract 273 from the Celsius value. From Fahrenheit, it is easiest to convert to Celsius first and then make the conversion to Kelvin.

Hopefully, with this information, the next time you need to make a conversion between the different units of temperature, you can do it with ease.

More about this author: Bradford Guay

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