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Countries that use Celsius
Celsius original thermometer

Celsius (symbol: °C) denotes a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. Named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701–1744), who first proposed it in 1742, the Celsius scale is a thermodynamic temperature scale where 0 °C is defined as the freezing point of water and 100 °C is defined as the boiling point of water at a pressure of 1 atmosphere. This scale is used worldwide for most temperature measuring purposes.

The Celsius scale is part of the metric system and is used in almost all countries worldwide, with the notable exception of the United States, where the Fahrenheit scale is more commonly used. The Celsius scale is considered more intuitive for most people and is particularly convenient for scientific and engineering calculations because it is a decimal-based scale.

History[edit | edit source]

The Celsius temperature scale was originally called the "centigrade" scale, derived from the Latin centum, meaning 100, and gradus, meaning steps. The scale was renamed in 1948 to honor Anders Celsius. Celsius originally proposed the scale with 0 °C as the boiling point of water and 100 °C as the freezing point. However, this was reversed to its current form by Carl Linnaeus or by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus in 1744, shortly after Celsius's death.

Conversion[edit | edit source]

The conversion formulas between Celsius and Fahrenheit are as follows:

  • From Celsius to Fahrenheit: (°C × 9/5) + 32 = °F
  • From Fahrenheit to Celsius: (°F − 32) × 5/9 = °C

Additionally, Celsius can be converted to Kelvin, the unit of absolute temperature used in the physical sciences, with the formula:

  • K = °C + 273.15

Usage[edit | edit source]

The Celsius scale is widely used in the world both in everyday life and in the scientific community. It is the standard for reporting temperatures in the meteorological, medical, and scientific fields. It is also used in conjunction with the Kelvin scale in the physical sciences, where temperature intervals and differences are often given in degrees Celsius, but absolute temperatures are given in Kelvin.

Cultural Impact[edit | edit source]

The adoption of the Celsius scale is a key part of the metrication process, which aims to standardize measurements worldwide. Its usage reflects a global move towards standardization and inter-operability in measurements for science, industry, and commerce.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD