The Great British Heatwave!

May 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

With our little mini heat wave this week, all eyes are on the weather forecast to see how long the temperature will stay at shorts-wearing level! So, where did our temperature scales come from.

We mainly use two temperature scales: Fahrenheit and Celsius.

The Fahrenheit scale was devised by a German physicist called Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1724. It has two fixed points: the freezing point of water is 32 degrees and the boiling point of water is 212 degrees. The difference between those two points is 180 degrees.

The Celsius scale, meanwhile, originates with a Swedish astronomer called Anders Celsius. The Celsius scale is preferred in modern use because it has nice round numbers! The freezing point is 0 degrees and the boiling point is 100 degrees, so the difference is 100 degrees rather than 180. This fits in better with our metric system, so is now much more widely used. The Celsius scale is also aptly called centigrade because, of course, centi means 100.

The formulas for swapping between the two are:

Fahrenheit to Celsius: (Fahrenheit – 32) x 5 / 9
Celsius to Fahrenheit: (Celsius x 9 / 5) + 32

And those will continue to be our temperature scales until the British devise a new scale that goes between the two points at which we moan about it being too hot or too cold!

And for kids who’d like to practice their thermometer skills, try taking a journey to Penguin City.

Enjoy the sunshine everyone!

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