Thursday, October 24, 2019

Celsius Or Fahrenheit? Why Do We Have Two Ways Of Measuring Temperature?

Celsius and Fahrenheit are both units of measuring temperature. For anyone who regularly references online recipes or likes to check in on the weather across the world, these two very different scaled can be a real pain in the backside. The United States of America still predominantly uses the Fahrenheit scale, whereas the United Kindom and most of the rest of the world, use Celsius and so you may have found yourself needing to use a Celsius to Fahrenheit converter on more than one occasion in order to understand what’s going on. But what is the difference? Where did these two units of measurement come from and which is better?

What is Fahrenheit? 

The Fahrenheit temperature scale was created by and named after the physicist, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1724. Before this time temperature was measured using a thermoscope invented by Galileo Galilei, though these thermoscopes didn’t actually have a unit of measurement. There have been several accounts about the way in which Daniel Gabriel Fahrenehiet created the Fahrenheit scale but the most commonly sited is that he began by defining the lower point of 0 first. He did this by establishing when a solution of brine froze, the brine he created was made from equal measures of ice, water and salt. He then established further limits to add to his scale such as the melting point of regular ice which was set at 32. The scale is now defined by two fixed points, the temperature at which water freezes into ice as defined by 32 and the point at which water boils which is defined to be 212.

What is Celcius?

The Celsius temperature scale was first invented several years later in 1742 by the Swedish astronomer named Anders Celsius for which it was named. But there is one important difference between the Celsius scale that Anders Celcius invented and the one in use today, the scale was the reverse. 0 degrees Celsius was the boiling point and 100 degrees was the freezing point of water. This changed in 1744 when Carolus Linnaeus, a botanist in Sweden, reversed it to make the freezing temperature of water 0 and the boiling point 100. 

Which is better?

The scale you use will largely depend on where you were bought up and what you were taught in school or college, though Celsius is the more widely used unit and is the primary scale used within scientific fields. As a general rule, people tend to prefer using Celcius because the key numbers for boiling and melting are more easy to remember. 

How do you convert one to the other?

Although the US remains one of the only users of the Fahrenheit scale it doesn’t look to be replaced any time soon and so you will still need to know how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius.  As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to do this is with an online converter as it does the calculation for you but in case you are interested, the mathematics behind it is as follows. 

  1. Fahrenheit = [Celcius] × 9 / 5 + 32
  2. Celsius = (Fahrenheit - 32) / 1.8