How cold is cold?

On this, the coldest day so far this Astana winter I started to wonder about cold, why do we have three different scales to measure it?

Daniel Gabriel Farenheit, created the temperature scale named after him in 1724. The scale is now defined by two fixed points: freezing of water at 32F and boiling water at 212F. Today, in the majority of countries this scale has been replaced by the Celsius scale – except for the US!

Celsius or centigrade? Before being renamed in 1948 to honour Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius who created this temperature scale in 1742, the unit was called centigrade from the Latin centum meaning 100 and gradus, steps. This scale is now based on 0C for the freezing point of water and 100C for the boiling point of water – originally it was the other way round.

The Kelvin scale is named after William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin a Belfast born and Glasgow educated engineer and physician. His search for an ‘infinite cold’ at the end of the 18th century lead to the absolute scale with the kelvin being the unit of temperature measurement in science.  The Kelvin and Celsius scales are used together in science and engineering – temperatures given in degrees Celsius and intervals given in kelvins. Absolute zero 0K is -273C – where all things freeze!


Toothpaste freezes at -60C…

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