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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: Mogmatt16

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?

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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