Press enter after choosing selection

History Of Zero

History Of Zero image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

"Zero," un thecomnion thermometer, like the fanciful names of the constellatioiis, is a CUriOua insutnce ui' the way u nmn's errors art-lnade iininoltal l' üecouiing popular, it ma; be wortb while to say that the word itaelf (zero) oomea to us through the Spanten rom the Arabic, and means empty; henee, uothing. In expreasiona like "90 - I'alii'.."' the abbreviation Fahr. Btaiida fpr Fahrenheit, a Prusaian caercliant of Daiitzie, en fche Baltic Sea. His fnll name was Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit. Fnun a boy ha was h close obaerver cit nature, and when oitly nineteen vears old, in the remarkable cold winter of l Ton. be experimenteel by putting Biiow and salt togeiber, and noticed tliat it prod'uced a degree of cold equal to the coldest day of the year, and that dav v:'.s the coldest that ohlest inhabituni eonld remember. Gabriel was the more struck witli the ciiincidnnce ot' his little scientiflc discoveiy, and hastily conduded that he had found the lowest degree of teinperature known in l: woild. Bither natural or artilicial. He callcd the degree zero, and constructel a thermometer.or inde weatlier glass witli a scale graduating from zero to lioiliiifr pöint, uliich he nnnilieved 212, and the freezing point beuausé, as he thóught, mercury contracted the 4-d of it-rt volume on being cooled down from tl'.i' teinperature ot' freeziiiff water to zero. and expanded 18Oth om being heat cd from the freezing to the boiling point. Time showed that this arrangement, instead of l)eing truly scientiflc, was as arbitrair a.s llie división of the Bibleinto verses and chapters. and that thoso two pointa tio more represented the real extremes of teinperature, than 'from Dan to licersheba" expresred the exact extremes of Palestine. Hut l'alnenheit'a thermometer had been widely adopted witli its [nconvenieot scale, and none thought of any better until his name becaipe au authority, for FaluvnHi'it linallv aliandoned trade and gave lnmsclf up to seienoe. The thvee countriea whicli usi Fahrenheit are England, Holland and Aininic-A. Hussia and Cennuny use líeaumur's thermometer, in which the boiling point is countèd 80 degreesabove the freezing point. Franco uses the Gentrigade thennoineter, so callod because it niarks tlie boiling ]M)int 1(H) degrees from the freezing point. On niany accounts the centtigrade systcni is the best, and the triuniph of convenieni'e wil) be attained when zero is made the freeaing point, and when the boiling point is put 100 or 1000 degreea from it, and all the subdivisions are lixed ili'cimally. If Fahrenheit had done this at first, or eveu if he had made it one of his improvements after the public had adopled his error, the lack of opportunity, which was really his, would haveeecured tohia invention the patronage of the world.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat