Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Born May 12, 1686 (in old British sources as 14 May Old Style)
Danzig (Gdańsk), Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Died 16 September 1736(1736-09-16) (aged 50)
The Hague, Netherlands
Fields Physics, thermometry
Known for Fahrenheit temperature scale, Fahrenheit hydrometer
Signature
Fahrenheit's birthplace in Gdańsk

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit[1] (24 May 1686[2] – 16 September 1736) was a German[3][4] physicist, engineer, and glass blower who is best known for inventing the alcohol thermometer (1709) and the mercury thermometer (1714), and for developing a temperature scale now named after him.[3]

Contents

Biography

Fahrenheit was born in 1686 in Danzig (Gdańsk), the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but lived most of his life in the Dutch Republic. The Fahrenheits were a German Hanse merchant family who had lived in several Hanseatic cities. Fahrenheit's great-grandfather had lived in Rostock, and research suggests that the Fahrenheit family originated in Hildesheim.[5] Daniel's grandfather moved from Kneiphof in Königsberg (Kaliningrad) to Danzig and settled there as a merchant in 1650. His son, Daniel Fahrenheit (the father of the subject of this article), married Concordia Schumann, daughter of a well-known Danzig business family. Daniel was the eldest of the five Fahrenheit children (two sons, three daughters) who survived childhood. His sister, Virginia Elizabeth Fahrenheit, married Benjamin Ephraim Krueger of an aristocratic Danzig family.[6]

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit began training as a merchant in Amsterdam after his parents died on August 14, 1701 from eating poisonous mushrooms. However, Fahrenheit's interest in natural science led him to begin studies and experimentation in that field. From 1717, he traveled to Berlin, Halle, Leipzig, Dresden, Copenhagen, and also to his hometown, where his brother still lived. During that time, Fahrenheit met or was in contact with Ole Rømer, Christian Wolff, and Gottfried Leibniz. In 1717, Fahrenheit settled in The Hague as a glassblower, making barometers, altimeters, and thermometers. From 1718 onwards, he lectured in chemistry in Amsterdam. He visited England in 1724 and was the same year elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[7] Fahrenheit died in The Hague and was buried there at the Kloosterkerk (Cloister Church).

Fahrenheit scale

The Celsius and Fahrenheit scales

According to Fahrenheit's 1724 article,[8][9] he determined his scale by reference to three fixed points of temperature. The lowest temperature was achieved by preparing a frigorific mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride (a salt), and waiting for it to reach equilibrium. The thermometer then was placed into the mixture and the liquid in the thermometer allowed to descend to its lowest point. The thermometer's reading there was taken as 0 °F. The second reference point was selected as the reading of the thermometer when it was placed in still water when ice was just forming on the surface.[10] This was assigned as 32 °F. The third calibration point, taken as 96 °F, was selected as the thermometer's reading when the instrument was placed under the arm or in the mouth.

Fahrenheit noted that mercury boils around 600 degrees on this temperature scale. Work by others showed that water boils about 180 degrees above its freezing point. The Fahrenheit scale later was redefined to make the freezing-to-boiling interval exactly 180 degrees,[8] a convenient value as 180 is a highly composite number, meaning that it is evenly divisible into many fractions. It is because of the scale's redefinition that normal body temperature today is taken as 98.6 degrees, whereas it was 96 degrees on Fahrenheit's original scale.[11]

Until the switch to the Celsius scale, the Fahrenheit scale was widely used in Europe[citation needed]. It is still used for everyday temperature measurements by the general population in the United States[12] and Belize and, less so, in the UK and Canada.

See also

  • Fahrenheit hydrometer

References

  1. ^ He signed as D. G. Fahrenheit in a 1736 letter
  2. ^ "24. Mai 1686" in the modern Gregorian calendar, which Danzig had already adopted in 1583, according to a speech held on 26 May 1886 by Prof. Albert Momber at the Naturforschende Gesellschaft zu Danzig, printed in Altpreußische Monatsschrift 1887, p. 143 [1]
  3. ^ a b Encyclopedia Britannica "Science & Technology: Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit" [2]
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of World Biography "Gabriel Fahrenheit"
  5. ^ Kant, Horst (1984). G. D. Fahrenheit / R. -A. F. de Réaumur / A. Celsius. B. G. Teubner. http://books.google.com/?id=XYKtGQAACAAJ. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 
  6. ^ See the Fahrenheit and Krueger genealogies.
  7. ^ The Royal Society Archive catalogue
  8. ^ a b "Fahrenheit temperature scale". Sizes, Inc. 2006-12-10. http://www.sizes.com/units/temperature_Fahrenheit.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  9. ^ Fahrenheit describes, in Latin, these numerical choices in the following paper: Fahrenheit, D. G. (1724). "Experimenta et Observationes de Congelatione aquae in vacuo factae". Philosophical Transactions (London) 33 (381–391): 78. doi:10.1098/rstl.1724.0016. 
  10. ^ Heath, Jonathan. "Why does the Fahrenheit scale use 32 degrees as a freezing point?". PhysLink. http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae64.cfm?CFID=21412834&CFTOKEN=55577927. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  11. ^ Elert, Glenn; Forsberg, C; Wahren, LK (2002). "Temperature of a Healthy Human (Body Temperature)". Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 16 (2): 122–8. doi:10.1046/j.1471-6712.2002.00069.x. PMID 12000664. http://hypertextbook.com/facts/LenaWong.shtml. Retrieved 04-12-2008. 
  12. ^ For an early attempt to replace the Fahrenheit scale in the United States, see Johnson, Albert (1916). Abolish the Fahrenheit Thermometer. Washington, DC: G.P.O.. http://books.google.com/?id=Bv5gc38ezBAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Abolish+the+Fahrenheit+Thermometer. 

Further reading

Memorial plaque at Fahrenheit's burial site in The Hague.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit — Fahrenheits Geburtshaus in der Danziger Hundegasse heute Daniel Gabri …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit — Gabriel Fahrenheit Lieu de naissance de Fahrenheit Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gabriel et Fahrenheit (homonymie) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit — (Gdansk, 24 de mayo de 1686 La Haya, Holanda, 16 de septiembre de 1736), fue un físico alemán étnico de quien toma su nombre la escala Fahrenheit de temperatura. Autor de numerosos inventos, entre los que caben citar los termómetros de agua… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Daniel G. Fahrenheit — Fahrenheits Geburtshaus in der Danziger Hundegasse heute Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (* 24. Mai 1686 in Danzig; † 16. September 1736 in Den Haag) war ein deutscher Physiker und Erfinder von Messinstrumenten. Nach ihm wurde die Temperatureinheit… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gabriel Fahrenheit — Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (también Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit: , Gdansk, Polonia (Danzig en alemán, ocupado pela Prussia y Alemania 1793 1918) 24 de mayo de 1686 16 de septiembre de 1736). Físico de quien la escala Fahrenheit de temperatura toma… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gabriel Fahrenheit — Fahrenheits Geburtshaus in der Danziger Hundegasse heute Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (* 24. Mai 1686 in Danzig; † 16. September 1736 in Den Haag) war ein deutscher Physiker und Erfinder von Messinstrumenten. Nach ihm wurde die Temperatureinheit… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gabriel Fahrenheit — Lieu de naissance de Fahrenheit Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gabriel et Fahrenheit (homonymie). Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (24 mai …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fahrenheit, Daniel Gabriel — ▪ German physicist born May 24, 1686, Gdańsk, Pol. died Sept. 16, 1736, The Hague, Dutch Republic [now in The Netherlands]       German physicist and maker of scientific instruments. He is best known for inventing the alcohol thermometer (1709)… …   Universalium

  • Fahrenheit, Daniel (Gabriel) — born May 24, 1686, Gdańsk, Pol. died Sept. 16, 1736, The Hague, Dutch Republic German physicist and instrument maker. He spent most of his life in the Netherlands, where he devoted himself to the study of physics and the manufacture of precision… …   Universalium

  • Fahrenheit, Daniel (Gabriel) — (24 may. 1686, Gdansk, Polonia–16 sep. 1736, La Haya, República Holandesa). Físico y fabricante de instrumentos alemán. Pasó la mayor parte de su vida en los Países Bajos, donde se dedicó a los estudios de la física y a la fabricación de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”