If you travel a great deal, or work in any scientific fields, it's important to know how to convert one system to the other. Fahrenheit is part of the Imperial System while Celsius is part of the Metric System. For folks who travel, 32 degrees can either mean the weather is going to be chilly (F) or, in a country using the metric system, it can mean that the weather will be quite warm and comfortable (C). Knowing this sure helps with packing!
Here are a couple of pretty easy formulas for converting one system to the other.
First, you need the formula for converting Fahrenheit (F) to Celsius (C): C = 5/9 x (F-32).
- Multiply this number by five.
- Divide the result by nine.
- Subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit temperature.
- 80 F – 32 = 48
- 5 x 48 = 240
- 240 / 9 = 26.7 C
In ordinary temperatures, a Celsius value is always lower than the corresponding Fahrenheit value. Also, it's helpful to keep in mind that the Celsius scale is based on the freezing and boiling points of water, where 0 C is the freezing point and 100 C is the boiling point. On the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32 F and boils at 212 F.
Since we don't always need to know the exact temperature, there is a shortcut that can be used that is simpler to do. I mean, it isn't going to make a huge difference if the temperature is off by a degree or two.
Subtract 30 from the Fahrenheit temperature and then divide by two. So, using the approximation formula: 74 F - 30 = 44. 44/2 = 22 C. If you want to reverse the formula, just multiply by 2 and add 30. 22 C x 2 = 44. 44+ 30 = 74F. Easy, right?
In case you are wondering how the Fahrenheit scale came into existence, here's the short story. The first mercury thermometer was invented by German scientist Daniel Fahrenheit in 1714. His scale divides the freezing and boiling points of water into 180 degrees, with 32 degrees as water's freezing point, and 212 as its boiling point. "He based the scale on the average temperature of the human body, which he originally calculated at 100 degrees. (As noted, it's since been adjusted to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)" Fahrenheit was the standard unit of measure in most countries until the 1960s and 1970s when it was replaced with the Celsius scale in a widespread conversion to the more useful metric system.
Who still uses the Fahrenheit system for temperature? In addition to the US and its territories, it is still used in the Bahamas, Belize, and the Cayman Islands.
I know once you master this conversion system, you'll find it very helpful. Please stop back tomorrow when I promise to write a blog that doesn't involve any math! Until then,