by Courtney Adamen
(Auburn Maine)

A part of our heritage

A part of our heritage

Have a look at this old photograph. Approximately five years before he passed away, this famous scientist created this artwork.

Barry's Response - They're not makin' them like that anymore.

Why do we care about the history of thermometers anyway. The first thing it does is give you a history of how scientific tools and techniques have developed over time. Modern science and technology were shaped by many innovations and incremental improvements in the past and the invention and refinement of the thermometer exemplifies that well.

Second, knowing the history of thermometers helps us appreciate how temperature measurement has changed our lives. Many aspects of modern life depend on temperature measurement, from regulating the temperature in our homes to monitoring the weather.

The history of thermometers can provide insight into the cultural and social contexts in which these instruments were developed and used. As an example, early thermometers were often used in medical settings, so understanding their history can help us understand how medicine has evolved as well.

Anders Celsius was an astronomer in Sweden who lived from 1701 to 1744. He became well-known for starting the Uppsala Astronomical Observatory, and even more so for coming up with the Celsius temperature scale, which is shown on the thermometer above.

Temperature scales have normally been defined by picking two points of interest, comparing their temperatures and sub-dividing it go get the scale. Any two will do. Body temperature or anything else that is consistent. That may have been a little more

difficult to find.

It's better to have two temperatures that are further apart for defining the scale, rather than too similar. The idea of using the boiling and freezing points of water may seem a little obvious now but that probably wasn't always the case. They are not perfectly consistent, but the the greatest contribution from Celsius himself was finding a way to make them usable.

Using his knowledge of gases and mercury, Celsius developed a more accurate thermometer than those in use at the time. Celsius' thermometer works on the idea that a liquid's volume changes with temperature. He used mercury because it expands and contracts more predictably than other liquids.

Actually, the scale he invented wan inverted and had zero for boiling and 100 for freezing (for water). Celsius also noted that while he could determine the variations in the boiling point of water, dependent on ambient pressure, the freezing point did not vary significantly at all.

Meanwhile another scientist, Jean-Pierre Christin, came up with zero for freezing and 100 for boiling and had a matching thermometer designed. After that, Celsius also calibrated his thermometer by marking the freezing point at 0 degrees and the boiling point at 100 degrees and that has remained the scale's form

As a result, Celsius' temperature scale was adopted as the scientific community's official temperature scale. The Celsius scale is widely used around the world, especially in science and meteorology.

More details can be found on Wikipedia:

Thank you for this inspiration, Courtney.

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Comments for Thermometer

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rare one
by: mia

Anders Celsius thermometer, the rare one of the great thermometers. I really love to see this in real. Because I have searched a lot for this thermometer but never, found one.

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Thank you to my research and writing assistants, ChatGPT and WordTune, as well as Wombo and others for the images.

GPT-4, OpenAI's large-scale language generation model (and others provided by Google and Meta), helped generate this text.  As soon as draft language is generated, the author reviews, edits, and revises it to their own liking and is responsible for the content.