Friday 19 May 2017

Degrees Christin

Honey it's cold out there this Spring morning in Ireland; why it's only 7oC [degrees Christin]. Or it might have been in an alternate time-space Universe where the work of French polymath Jean-Pierre Christin [L photo looted from] was properly acknowledged. J-PC was a know-all astronomer, musician and mathematician who was born in Lyon 31st May 1683 and died there in 1755 well before the [political] Revolution. Nevertheless he participated in the ferment of those 18thC years which launched Linnaeus. Isaac Newton and the Royal Society. When my father was in school, he used Fahrenheit thermometers but had heard about the centigrade scale because, as they explained at Naval Training College, he might have to interact with or go to war against them foreign johnnies from continental Europe. In 1948, centigrade was renamed the Celsius scale after it's supposed inventor. Actually Anders Celsius (1701-1744) had it arseways with zero calibrated to the boiling point of water and 100 as the melting point of ice.

Christin is said to have released his Thermometer of Lyon,[R] as it came to be called, on 19th May <today> 1743. Christin upended the scale with 100 hotter than 0 and everyone rowed in behind that as an idea with more utility. In 1948, I suspect that they honoured Celsius because Christin is by no means the only contender for having been the first flipper of the centigrade scale; Linnaeus is another.  The other innovation was to fill the thermometer with mercury rather than a mix of water and alcohol with a drop of red dye.

I wrote all this hot-stuff up in 2014 to celebrate Christin's birthday and am a little bit ashamed to be thus rechurning my own stuff. On the other hand, nobody reads links in the blogosphere because the are restlessly coursing after the Next Bright Thing. I deprecate re-churning [Aimé Bonpland, Rachel Carson] on the interweb but have been know to do it before. tsk

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