# Difference between a kelvin and a celcius degree

## Homework Statement

I feel stupid posting this but I am completely lost. This is a problem on my Chemistry textbook's website, which gives immediate feedback on whether you are right or wrong, and I am just unable to get it right.

The question:
What is the difference between a kelvin and a Celsius degree?

Below in the answer box it says :
1 K = _________ °C

## The Attempt at a Solution

So to convert from K to °C you do temperature in K - 273.15, right? So I did 1 - 273.15 and got -272.15. I put that in as my answer and got it wrong.

I feel like I am doing it right, so I'm not sure if maybe the answer key is wrong. Or maybe I am just stupid. I've tried numerous other numbers and keep getting it wrong, and for each wrong answer I am getting points off. Please help.

Thanks

symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Gold Member
So you are confused about which way to go.
Think about the degrees this way: 0 C is 273.15 K. I agree with YOUR answer. Absolute Zero K would be -273.15 C. One degree up from absolute zero, same size degree regardless of scale chosen between K or C, would then be -273.15+1=-272.15 C

phyzguy
I think the problem is probably asking about the magnitude of a Kelvin degree as compared to the magnitude of a Celsius degree. Since they are the same magnitude, it wants the answer that 1K = 1C. Try this and see if this is the right answer.

I think the problem is probably asking about the magnitude of a Kelvin degree as compared to the magnitude of a Celsius degree. Since they are the same magnitude, it wants the answer that 1K = 1C. Try this and see if this is the right answer.

It was right!! Thanks so much. I'm a bit confused by the answer though. Does 1K = 1C because of the fact that a change in 1 degree in both K and C is the same amount? Also, how am I supposed to know that they want 1K = 1C rather than 1K = -272.15?

phyzguy
It was right!! Thanks so much. I'm a bit confused by the answer though. Does 1K = 1C because of the fact that a change in 1 degree in both K and C is the same amount? Also, how am I supposed to know that they want 1K = 1C rather than 1K = -272.15?

Yes, that's right, the point is that a change of 1K is the same as a change of 1C. As far as how you're supposed to know what they are asking, I have no idea. Maybe you should point out to your teacher that the problem is ambiguous.

Yes, that's right, the point is that a change of 1K is the same as a change of 1C. As far as how you're supposed to know what they are asking, I have no idea. Maybe you should point out to your teacher that the problem is ambiguous.

Ok, will do. Thanks again for the help!

symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Gold Member
The size of a Celsius degree is the same as the size of a Kelvin degree.

Borek
Mentor
What is the difference between a kelvin and a Celsius degree?

Maybe you should point out to your teacher that the problem is ambiguous.

They don't ask about TEMPERATURE, they ask about a DEGREE. I don't see ambiguity here, even if I understand the confusion - but confusion comes from the lack of understanding of the difference between unit used and quantity measured.