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
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.