This week Reactions takes a look at the science behind how we tell temperature. There’s a lot of chemistry that goes into thermometers. We have a lot of confidence that we measure temperature accurately. But how do thermometers in the kitchen or doctor’s office work? Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, thermometers respond to heat moving from hot to cold as a means of measuring temperature. Clever physical chemists and engineers have taken temperature tools from the simple, but still useful, lined glass thermometers to digital readouts. And you might be surprised to find out how Einstein took thermometers the distance.

Find us on all these places:

JD Pigs

Elaine Seward

Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Judith Lavelle

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Dawn Cross
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Kyle Nackers

Fever Guidelines

Galileo Project (Rice Univ.) – Thermometer

EPA – Mercury in your thermometer
EPA – Mercury – Health Effects
NIST – phasing out mercury thermometer calibration

Galilean Thermometer not so Galilean (interesting, but also corroborates the event of Galileo’s invention of the thermoscope around the start of the 17th century)

Bimetallic thermometers

thermocouples [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][deleted content]


IR semiconductor sensors

IR planet measurement

“Experiments in Physical Chemistry”, 6th edition. David P. Shoemaker, Carl W. Garland, Joseph W. Nibler. McGraw-Hill, 1996.
Chapter 18 “Temperature” and Chapter 19 “Instruments”

Ever wonder why dogs sniff each others’ butts? Or how Adderall works? Or whether it’s OK to pee in the pool? We’ve got you covered: Reactions a web series about the chemistry that surrounds you every day.

Reactions is produced by the American Chemical Society.