Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Daniel Fahrenheit

Currently in my chemistry class, we are studying Gibb's free energy. Temperature and the measurement of it plays a significant role in calculating many things (i.e. work, Gibb's free energy, entropy, enthalpy, gases and phase changes, what have you).
So interested in how the system of measuring temperature came about, I looked into it and read several biographies on a man name Daniel Fahrenheit.
Fahrenheit was born in 1686, and according to multiple biographies I've read, he was either born in Poland or Germany. One claims he was born in Germany and lived in Poland; however, I have not looked deeper into this discrepancy so if someone would like to do so, please do. I'm curious. He was a glassblower which allowed him to make barometers and thermometers, convenient wouldn't you say?
Smart man that he was, Daniel Fahrenheit worked with alcohol, and afterwards mercury. Doing so, he was able to systematize a way to measure temperature, which is an important contribution to daily life today. The celsius scale same a couple decades after the standard fahrenheit temperature scale (1724) was invented.
Originally, the fahrenheit scale was based on the body temperature of the human body. What was once 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the scale, the temperature of the human body has been adjusted to what we now describe as normal body temperature, 98.6 degrees.
It's always interesting to read about how instruments that society utilizes today and seemingly finds simple came about.

-Amanda Do

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