Today is Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit’s birthday. Of course, by the name, you probably already know his claim to fame in this world. But I will rehash.
Daniel was both an inventor and a physicist. He is, by far, best know for his invention of the mercury-in-glass thermometer. I am not sure what the exact date was. But probably early 1700s judging from his birthday, which is May 24, 1686. In Poland-Lithuania territory. He died in 1736, aged 50. So he had to do that inventing before then.
Back to highs and lows of things. It was the first accurate and usable thermometer. He came up with a scale for measuring temperatures in his brand new fancy mercury-in-glass. Yes. The Fahrenheit scale. And this was the first temperature scale widely adopted and standardized. All across the lands, back there in 17something. The freezing point of 32 degrees, and the boilers at 212. Sure, pick THOSE numbers Daniel.
These days, only a few countries still use the Fahrenheit measure, most prominently the United States. I don’t know why we are so late to the Celsius game, but we are.
Now Celsius, there is a guy. Anders Celsius, born in Sweden in 1701. He was more of an Astronomer than anything. He also taught at the University of Uppsala. As a sidebar in his life, he invented the Celsius (or centigrade) thermometer scale. Probably just a little later than Fahrenheit. (Anders Celsius died in 1744 at the age of 42.)
Anders had to flip his scale. He originally set the scale with a boiling point of 0° and a freezing point of 100°. But now we have the inverted form of the scale, which sets the freezing point of water at 0° and the boiling point at 100°. Nice, even, easy-to-work with, power-of-ten numbers. Celsius is considered the standard among scientific work today.
But not here in the United States. Nope.
About 50 years ago, there seemed like there might be a push for us to convert. We had to learn Celsius in grade school. By high school, they were just teaching us conversion methods. Blechhh.
Today, in Ohio, the temperature is supposed to be 85° F. If we were like the rest of the world, it would only be 29°C.
There won’t be a change any time soon. Americans can be thick that way. Take our $20 bill. Most people would like to see Harriet Tubman’s face on the thing. But it won’t happen until President Trump is out of office. He likes Andrew Jackson’s face on the $20. In fact he admires Jackson, who was very unkind to our Native America friends.
Is it getting hot in here? Like, freaking Fahrenheit hot?
“To taste the sea, all one needs is one gulp.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956
“Nothing is so small that you cannot cut it in half”
― Ulf Wolf
“Incidentally, the world is magical. Magic is simply what’s off our human scale… at the moment.”
― Vera Nazarian