Who was Fahrenheit and What Did He Do?

With this sudden blast of arctic air over the midwest, I was wondering who this fellow Fahreheit was and what he did.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) was a noted member of the Royal Society as a scientist and builder of scientific instruments. In 1714, he used his glass blowing skills to make a thermometer using meercury to register temperature changes. Prior to this, alcohol was used with a noted lack of accuracy and no agreed upon scale, like 60 for boiling and 7.5 for freezing, or whatever.

Fahrenheit established a scale by first submersing his thermometer in a slurry of salt, ice and water. The temperature of this super cold mixture was set as 0 degrees.  He then observed the point at which a thin film of ice formed on water and set that as +32 degrees and added 180 degrees to that for the observed boiling point of water or +212 degrees.  It still isn’t crystal clear, but that’s what he did. 

Fahrenheit had suggested that the human body would be 100 degrees, but that just missed at +98.6 degrees. 

Now, let us wonder at why he couldn’t just set Zero as the freezing point of water and use any number for the boiling point, and  this Celsius stuff wouldn’t have arisen. I still can’t tell if it is hot or cold in Toronto, although I was told that -40 is the same on both scales.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s