Sunday, December 30, 2012

Celsius' temperature scale (and other delights at Uppsala University)

While in Sweden I had a delightful visit to Uppsala University.

It was there, in the 1700's (as the University was  already nearing its 300th anniversary) that Anders Celsius undertook the meteorological research that required his invention of the temperature scale that bears his name. Except not quite in the form we know it today.  Here's a picture I took of one of his original thermometers, through the display case in a University museum: If you can click through and look at the enlargement, you'll see that the top of the scale (far left), which marks the boiling point of water, is marked 0 degrees, while the middle of the scale, which marks water's freezing point, is marked 100. (Celsius apparently felt that solids were 'more' than gases...). The reversal to what we know today as the conventional Celsius scale came in 1745, shortly after his death.


It turns out that Uppsala University has other interesting museums, and in one of them I took a picture of what is said to be an example of the first circulating bank note...

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