# Temperature in degrees?

1. Jun 18, 2014

### Goliatbagge

Why is it that temperature is measured in degrees (degree Celsius, degree Kelvin etc)? Does it have anything to do with "angular" degrees?

2. Jun 18, 2014

### CWatters

3. Jun 18, 2014

### Goliatbagge

I know it's not the same thing. I just wonder why (historical) they decided to measure temperatures in degrees?

They could have chosen to measure temperatures in just C or F instead of °C and °F? Temperatures doesn't have anything to do with angels.

4. Jun 18, 2014

5. Jun 18, 2014

### king vitamin

6. Jun 18, 2014

### Bandersnatch

The word degree comes from the Latin word for "a step". Anything with a range of increasing "steps" can be called a degree. An academic degree, a degree of freedom. When you say "to a certain degree" you don't(or shouldn't) mean "to some angle", but "to an extent".

But this has got little to do with physics, so maybe you'd do better looking for good dictionaries, with word etymologies listed.

And by the way, there's no such thing as degree Kelvin. It's just Kelvins.

7. Jun 18, 2014

°K was used sometime before, but it was dropped

8. Jun 18, 2014

### PhysicoRaj

Why?

9. Jun 18, 2014

### Goliatbagge

Thank you king vitamin and Bandersnatch for good answers and for understanding my question! Even though the word "degree" is used in many areas, it's still quite interesting that the degree sign is used both regarding temperatures and angles.

Personally, I'm glad that they dropped the degree sign for Kelvins. Kelvin should be the logical temperature scale.

10. Jun 18, 2014

### Imager

For those of in Arizona it bad enough to 100+ F. Let’s not go to 300+ K.

11. Jun 18, 2014

### phinds

That's just your opinion. Having a range with the freezing point of water be zero and the boiling point of water to be 100 is less logical, how?

12. Jun 18, 2014

### Goliatbagge

Since temperature is a measure of mean kinetic energy of atoms, then the temperature should be zero when all atoms are in rest. So, in a strict physical sense, I think the Kelvin scale is the most logical one.

With that said, I would not use the Kelvin scale in every day life. The Celsius scale is just fine and logical enough.

13. Jun 18, 2014

### phinds

Agreed. The thing I DO hate about the use of C is that non-scientific types can be heard on occasion to say nonsensical things like "200 degrees is twice as hot as 100 degrees"

14. Jun 19, 2014

### epenguin

You need two points and these were obviously convenient ones that could be reproduced in different laboratories for comparison, standardisation etc. ?

15. Jun 19, 2014

### CWatters

Lot of uses in Physics..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degree_(disambiguation [Broken])

Degree symbol, (°), a notation used in science, engineering and mathematics
Degree (angle), a unit of angle measurement
Degree in geographic coordinate system
Degree (temperature), a unit of temperature measurement
Degree API, a measure of density in the petroleum industry
Degree Baumé, a pair of density scales
Degree Brix, a measure of sugar concentration
Degree Gay-Lussac, a measure of the alcohol content of a liquid by volume, ranging from 0° to 100°
Degree proof, or simply proof, the alcohol content of a liquid, ranging from 0° to 175° in the UK, and from 0° to 200° in the U.S.
Degree of curvature, a unit of curvature measurement, used in civil engineering
Degrees of freedom (mechanics), the number of displacements and/or rotations needed to define the position and orientation of a body
Degrees of freedom (physics and chemistry), a concept describing dependence on a countable set of parameters
Degree of frost, a unit of temperature measurement
Degrees Lintner, a measure of enzymatic activity
Degrees Lovibond, a measure of transparency
Degree of unsaturation, in organic chemistry, also known as the index of hydrogen deficiency or rings plus double bonds
dGH, degrees of general hardness of water
Degree of carbonate hardness of water (degree KH)

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017