The Second Version

12/07/07

Hard to Kill

Of all the temperature scales invented during the course of history, only the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales gained and still enjoy widespread acceptance (insert rant of choice against the metric system here). The Kelvin (or absolute) scale is widely used in the science field because it's oriented to thermodynamics (in fact, many equations make sense only in light of an absolute temperature scale), but outside of that field is of little interest.

One of the temperature scales that competed but succumbed is the Reamur scale, invented by the French scientist Rene-Antoine Ferchault de Reamur in 1731 - when France was a powerhous of research and innovation. I remember reading as a kid old physics and chemistry books that treated the Reamur scale as one of the main competitors.

But for years afterwards, the Reamur degress never made another appearance - probably the were undeservedly sharing the dustbin of history with noxious ideologies.

But today at work a batch of instruments to calibrate arrived: together with three pH-meters (to calibrate to the same standard of the UKAS and NIST) there was also a thermometer - a digital one with a long stainless steel stem, typical design for measuring the temperature of liquids in big containers. So far so good, but the display had the symbol °R on it. So I thought: "Can it be, Reamur degrees?".

I asked to the lab manager and she said that yes, it's a Reamur thermometer. It is used in a dairy to control the vat temperature during the making of Parmigiano-Reggiano; for some reason those factories still employ the Reamur scale.

Curious indeed; I'll like the calibration process (which anyway will be done against a precision centigrade mercury thermometer).

Etichette: , ,

4 Commenti:

  • °R is for the Rankine scale, not the Réaumur scale. The symbol for Réaumur is °Ré. But yes, Réaumur scale is used with cheese as you say, so maybe you forgot the "é"

    Di Anonymous Anonimo, Alle 6/1/09 11:32  

  • I am quite sure I have forgotten no "è"; there was the "R" only on that thermometer.

    It is possible that the symbol for Reamur degree has been changed to R considering that the Rankine scale is even more forgotten and obscure than Reamur.

    Di Blogger Fabio, Alle 6/1/09 22:14  

  • Well, considering that you also forgot the first "u" in "RéaUmur"...

    Di Anonymous Anonimo, Alle 7/1/09 14:05  

  • Comments are not intended for pedantic nitpicking, second-guessing and gratuitious charges of ignorance. This thread is closed.

    Di Blogger Fabio, Alle 7/1/09 14:54  

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