Question Video: Identifying Temperature Scales Physics • 9th Grade

Which of the following is not a temperature scale? [A] Maxwell [B] Celsius [C] Kelvin [D] Fahrenheit


Video Transcript

Which of the following is not a temperature scale? (A) Maxwell, (B) Celsius, (C) Kelvin, or (D) Fahrenheit.

Now we might be able to recognize that all four answer options are titles or last names of historically significant physicists. Thanks to their contributions, their names have been associated with certain concepts in physics, such as temperature scales. However, we want to recall which of these options is not also the name of a temperature scale.

Starting at the bottom, we have Fahrenheit. We can recall that Fahrenheit is a temperature scale that’s commonly used in some places. It measures absolute zero at negative 459 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point of water at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and the boiling point of water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, we know this is a temperature scale. So we should eliminate option (D).

Next, (C) says Kelvin. We should recall that the kelvin is the SI unit of temperature, whose scale begins with absolute zero at zero kelvin. And then the freezing point of water measures 273 kelvin, and the boiling point of water is 373 kelvin. We should eliminate this option as well and move on to (B). Celsius is perhaps the most recognizable temperature scale, as most countries use it for everyday purposes. And thus we should be able to recall that absolute zero measures as negative 273 degrees Celsius, that water freezes at zero degrees Celsius, and that it boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Because Celsius is a temperature scale, let’s eliminate (B) as well.

Now we’re left with option (A) Maxwell. We might remember that this name is heavily associated with the study of electromagnetism but not any temperature scale. Therefore, answer choice (A) is correct. While Celsius, Kelvin, and Fahrenheit are temperature scales, Maxwell is not.

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