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Conversions

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 

Puzzle ID:#47847
Fun:*** (2.41)
Difficulty:** (1.41)
Category:Science
Submitted By:Mogmatt16Ava****!!

 

 

 



When you convert from an English measurement to a Metric measurement, you multiply by a number. For example, to find out how many kilograms are in 10 pounds, you multiply 10 by .454. To find out how many meters are in 10 yards, you multiply 10 by .914. This is the procedure for every conversion except for one. When you convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, you subtract 32 and multiply by 1/9.

Why does the temperature conversion require a subtraction and a multiplication, while all the other conversions require just a multiplication?



Answer

For distance, weight, and every other measure, a result of zero is the same no matter what the units are. The temperature scales, however, have arbitrary zeros. This means that 0 degrees Celsius and 0 degrees Fahrenheit are not the same temperature.

(As an interesting side note, the Kelvin and Rankine scales both have their 0 degrees set to Absolute Zero, so you can convert from one to the other with a simple multiplication.)

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Comments

unklemykeAus*
Oct 11, 2010

Well, actually, you subtract because Celsius sets the freezing point of water as 0º and Fahrenheit sets it at 32º. likewise, the boiling point of water is 100º C, 212º F.
The 180 point difference in F as opposed to the 100 point difference in C yeilds the constant - and it's 5/9 from F to C, not 1/9. Conversely, you multiply by 9/5 going form C to F.
Nerine**
Jan 06, 2011

Huh, it's quite obvious when you knoew the answer
AndrewWalkerAfi*
Jan 31, 2012

I didn't get the exact answer, but I do know, if you graph the resulting conversions as linear functions, each line has a unique slope. This means there is a non-linear relationship between the two conversions. Also the two lines intersect at the point (-40,-40) so -40 degrees F= -40 degrees C
eighsseAus**
Jul 28, 2013

If you have a decent understanding of the temperature scales, this isn't much of a teaser, just asking an everyday question. But hey, not everyone does have a good understanding of it, so I'm sure some people learned something here



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