Why is the temperature still measured in degrees Fahrenheit in the USA, when the whole world is in degrees Celsius?

In the USA, the temperature is still measured in Fahrenheit, whereas almost all countries switched to the metric system back in the 60s and use the Celsius scale. Is there a logical explanation for this?

To date, five states, including the USA, when measuring body temperature or outside the window, they use degrees Fahrenheit. Although the rest of the world has already switched to the Celsius scale, in the USA, they persistently continue to use ‘Fahrenheit’. What is the reason for the refusal to switch to the usual system of measuring degrees for everyone? The answer is in our article.

How did the Fahrenheit and Celsius degree systems appear?

In 1724, the German scientist Gabriel Fahrenheit proposed a scale for calculating temperature. For the zero mark, he took the freezing point of a mixture of ice and table salt in the values familiar to us today is -17.8 ° C. For 100 °F was accepted… his wife’s body temperature, which at that time was sick (about 37.8 ° C). Accordingly, Gabriel also determined other important values: the melting point of ice (or freezing of water) equal to 32 ° F and the boiling point of water, equal to 212 °F. As a result, he invented the world’s first thermometer, for which he was honored to become a member of the Royal Society of London.

After 18 years, Swedish scientist Andres Celsius offers a more simplified temperature measurement scale. He took a more understandable value for zero: the temperature of melting ice (freezing of water), and for 100 ° the boiling point of water. This gradation has become more logical and transparent for everyone, it was taken as a basis in many countries and eventually introduced into the International System of Units (SI). Since 1965, even the UK began to switch to a temperature measurement system in degrees Celsius. The former colonies and the territories subject to it also began to switch to such a metric system, but not the USA.
It is worth noting, that in addition to Celsius and Fahrenheit, there are several other units of temperature measurement, which are used in a particular branch of production. Among them is Kelvin, Rankin, Remer, Newton, Delil and Reaumur. Below is a table of temperature conversion to these units of measurement.

You can convert the temperature from the Fahrenheit scale to the Celsius scale using the following formula:
Substituting Fahrenheit values into the formula, you will clearly get the corresponding figure in Celsius (try to get your own body temperature in Celsius from 212 °F).

Why does the US persistently refuse to switch to degrees Celsius?

It is worth noting, that the US does not want to switch not only to degrees Celsius, but also for the entire SI metric system, which includes kilometers, kilograms and other units of measurement. In fact, the States tried to switch to the metric system of calculation, but in vain.

1975 Metric Conversion Act, . , , . , . . . .

Note, what according to the adopted law on the change of the measurement system, the transition was supposed to be voluntary, and not forced, therefore, the opinion of the common population was taken into account. Many trade unions and entrepreneurs opposed the transition, since it was necessary to retrain the workers, and this entailed great material losses. Due to the protests of most states, President Ronald Reagan was forced to dissolve the commission in 1982, and that’s where the transition stopped. That is why to this day Americans have not switched to the SI metric system.

NASA suffers losses due to the country’s unwillingness to switch to the SI system

NASA Corporation has also started using the metric system in parallel with its previous one. Because of this, there is sometimes confusion, which leads to large losses. So in 1999, the automatic Mars Climate Orbiter was launched into orbit. Altimeter, which is necessary for the height control system, worked under the old American system, and the main navigation systems by metric. Because of the confusion, the system chose the wrong point of entry into orbit (100 km closer than planned), and the device was destroyed.

A similar situation occurred in 2006, when was the ‘DART’ device launched, which was supposed to dock with a military satellite. The GPS system in it gave out the distance in meters, and the response in the navigation system was in feet. Because of this, the device collided with a satellite, although it should have just docked. The company suffered losses.

  • Technologies

More recently, NASA decided to calculate how much it would cost to switch to a new measurement system: the processing of all drawings, technical documentation and software. Turn out, that about $370 million will have to be spent for this purpose., which is almost half the cost of launching a space shuttle ($759 million). Therefore, it was decided to switch to the new measurement system gradually.

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