There are three main temperature scales in common use, Celsius (centigrade), Fahrenheit and Kelvin. All of them are pretty pointless in terms of real life. Fahrenheit is the most pointless of the lot as it has seemingly random numbers assigned to things. The one good thing it has going for it is that when it’s hot outside the temperature is approaching 100. A nice round number. But what about when it’s cold outside then you’re back to random numbers again.
So what about centigrade? Well ever since Celsius was convinced to put the numbers the right way up* it’s done pretty well becoming the standard in most places. Scientists must have loved it when it came along because scientists boil a lot of water and until then they’d had to remember some stupid number for when water boiled. Not now. Thanks to Celsius it was a nice round 100. And freezing was just as easy coming as it did at 0. This is all very well for scientists but the thing is for your average human we know when water is boiling because there are a lot of bubbles and steam. So all of this convenience is a lot less useful when it comes to knowing if we need a jacket or not. Is twenty warm? Thirty? Or is it some random number in between? Scientists don’t even really use it any more. Scientists use Kelvin.
Kelvin is based on the idea that 0 should be the coldest anything can be and everything builds up from there. Scientists love that kind of stuff it means they can be more haphazard with their BODMAS** and still get the right answer because there are no minus numbers. For regular human beings though, I’m afraid it won’t cut the mustard. In Kelvin water freezes at 273.15 and boils at 373.15.
So as we can see for regular people who aren’t doing experiments with tiny tubes the temperature system is not fit for purpose*** and so I propose a new system which will help us determine much more easily if we need a jacket or not.
First up freezing day. A freezing day is a day when water freezes. This, unlike the boiling water thing, is useful to know in advance. You might want to take out your snow boots or bring in your tomato plant. So that a day like this will be easy to spot we will call this temperature zero. And it will be the same temperature as zero in centigrade.
Now I know you’re thinking. Hey so far so boring. I can just get the centigrade system to do that. But no the big difference is how we’re going to pair this at the upper end of the spectrum. For that we are going to use 100 from the Fahrenheit system. Because that’s what we want to know. We want to know is it approaching a boiling day not is it approaching boiling water.
So there you have it. A new system for measuring temperature which is more useful for deciding if you need on the one hand to take off your jacket or on the other bring in your tomato plant. And what, you may ask, is the temperature of boiling water in this new scheme? Well I’m tempted to say that it doesn’t matter. But since you ask it’s 265. Anyway here is a handy chart to pin up on the wall the next time you’re listening to the weather. I’m going to have to get on and mention this to the BBC. I’ll let you know what they say.
Conversion to Andronov from Celsius: A = C * 2.647059
[Update: The conversion rate has been changed, please check here: Temperature rising?]
* He originaly had 100 as freezing and 0 as boiling!
** Brackets Of Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction (BODMAS) is the order in which operators are executed in mathematics. Negative numbers can cause weird problems unless you bracket them correctly.
*** I hate this phrase – that is all!