Easy like Sunday morning: On temperatures!

In the Caribbean, the temperature never changes, the sun just goes down: Kris Marshall

Published - May 16, 2024 11:59 am IST

A statue of Carl Linnaeus at Skansen Park, Stockholm.

A statue of Carl Linnaeus at Skansen Park, Stockholm. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/istock

1. On May 19 in 1743, physicist Jean-Pierre Christin developed a scale which became the most common way of measuring temperature around the world. He had improved an already existing scale in which 0 (zero) represented the boiling point of water and 100 the freezing point. He inverted this scale, which was named after its inventor. Also known as centigrade, what was the name of the original scale?

2. One of the first people to use the ‘reverse Celsius’ scale was a Swedish botanist called Carl Linnaeus who used a custom-made thermometer to track the ambient temperature in his greenhouse. He had a huge collection of plants from all around the world that needed to be kept at different temperatures. By keeping and studying these plants, what did he give the world of science that is followed till date?

3. High temperatures lead to metal expanding to more than its usual length. In a particular scenario, to prevent the possible accidents that could come of this, the metal bits are not bolted flush with each other but with a small gap. This leads to a characteristic sound effect that has been captured in many songs and movies. Where would one see these gaps?

4. Farmers of a certain crop in France and Spain have had a very tough time because of the record high temperatures across Europe. The usually juicy fruit can be processed to make a very expensive product, but the plants were so parched that the product could only be sold as a dry fruit, which is seen in cereals and cookies. What is the fruit and dry fruit?

5. The hottest temperature ever achieved by man is a staggering four billion degrees Celsius. That’s 250,000 times hotter than the core of the sun and was produced at the Brookhaven Natural Laboratory in their Heavy Ion Collider. To produce this intense heat, they smashed two ions of the most stable element in the periodic table together. What element is this which, because of its stable nature, is universally valued very highly?

6. In 1924, Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose proposed a state of matter called ‘Bose-Einstein condensate’, where atoms form a kind of glob with exotic properties. This happens at temperatures close to absolute zero (-273.15° C). Under this frigid condition, it has been shown that a particular entity — known and studied for its ultimate speed — cannot just be slowed down but stopped in its tracks. What entity is this?

7. At 9 a.m. on January 14, 1972, the town of Loma, Montana, recorded a temperature of -47.7° C (-54° F). Over the day a downslope chinook wind affected the temperature and the next morning at 8 the town recorded 9.4° C (49° F). This 24-hour period led to what Guinness World Record for the town of Loma?

8. The SI unit of temperature starts at 0, which is the coldest possible temperature (Absolute Zero) and then goes up by one for every degree rise in Celsius. So, to convert to this scale one just needs to add 273.15. Named after a British scientist, which scale is this?

9. A triple point is the temperature at which a substance’s traditional three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) exist in equilibrium. The smallest difference in temperature can alter the state in one way or the other. Where one can see this phenomenon is a sport where the athlete by putting light pressure on the surface, changes the state of water and then uses its new property to showcase their skills. What sport is this?

10. The Harvard Spectral classification shows the classification of stars in the universe according to their effective temperature and relative colour. If the coolest stars, which burn at 2,300K-3900K shine Orangish Red, then in what colour is the hottest star at >33,000K shine?

A molecular biologist from Madurai, our quizmaster enjoys trivia and music, and is working on a rock ballad called ‘Coffee is a Drink, Kaapi is an Emotion’. @bertyashley


1. Celsius

2. Scientific names of plants and animals (Binomial nomenclature)

3. Railway tracks

4. Grape and raisin

5. Gold

6. Light can be slowed to a dead stop.

7. Highest temperature difference in one day (57.2° C / 103° F)

8. Kelvin

9. Ice-skating

10. Blue Star

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