Difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit

By: | Updated: Dec-12, 2017

If an American and a European meet and start talking about the weather, there might be some confusion in their conversation. If the American says it’s 32 degrees outside and it’s cold, the European might be surprised, since 32 degrees is a hot summer temperature. Is something wrong with the way these two perceive temperatures, or is there some other reason they can’t agree (say, the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit)? Let’s find out more about the subjects of Celcius and Fahrenheit.

Summary Table

CelsiusFahrenheit
Created by Swedish scientist Anders CelsiusCreated by German-Dutch physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Is represented by the °C symbol

Is represented by the °F symbol
Freezing point is at 0°CFreezing point is at 32°F
Boiling point is at 100°CBoiling point is at 212°F
The normal human body temperature is 37°CThe normal human body temperature is 98.6°F

Used worldwide except for the US

Used in the US and in the territories formerly controlled by the US

Definitions

A pharmacy sign in France indicating a 40 degree Celsius temperature in summer, probably during a heat wave

Celsius is a temperature scale named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701 – 1744). The symbol for the temperature expressed in Celsius degrees is °C. On this scale, the freezing point (temperature at which water turns into ice) is at 0 and the boiling point (temperature at which water starts to boil) is at 100.

Fahrenheit is a temperature scale named after Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686- 1736), a German-Dutch physicist. The symbol for the temperature expressed in Celsius degrees is °F. On this scale, the freezing point is at 32 and the boiling point is at 212.

Celsius vs Fahrenheit

So, while these are two systems used for measuring temperature, the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit lies with the scales they use. Therefore, the freezing point on the Celsius scale is at 0 degrees, whereas on the Fahrenheit scale it is at 32 degrees. The boiling point is at 100 degrees for Celsius and 212 for Fahrenheit. A normal body temperature is at 37°C or 98.6°F. The symbol for Celsius is a C and the symbol for Fahrenheit is an F.

Origin

Both measuring systems were coined in the 18th century. Celsius was created by Anders Celsius, a Swedish scientist, whereas Fahrenheit was created by German-Dutch physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit.

Usage

Fahrenheit is used in the United States, while Celsius is used in the rest of the world. The UK switched to the Celsius scale as part of adhering to the metric system in the 1970s. Since then, they kept presenting weather reports in both Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees for the older public who had not gotten accustomed to the change.

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