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How do you really know what the temperature is?

Dr. Michael de Podesta, from the UK's National Physical Laboratory.

7:30 for 8:00 start

We all have a sense of what temperature is, and we are nearly all familiar with using a thermometer to associate 'a number' with a particular temperature. Amazingly that number can be related directly to the motion of atoms and molecules. So measuring the temperature of an object gives us our most accessible path for studying the motion of atoms and molecules.

In this talk I will explain how the link between temperature and basic physics is made and reveal the workings of a near-secret international organisation that makes sure that one degree Celsius measured in Brighton today means (nearly) the same thing as one degree Celsius measured in (say) Germany in the 1950's. 

Dr. Michael de Podesta, from the UK's National Physical Laboratory.

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  • Rik C.

    It was good to be there after a gap of about 7/8 years. Hope to see you all again soon. Michael was really entertaining and brought the subject alive. If physics were more like this in schools, it would be no bad thing.

    1 · June 19, 2014

  • Paul J.

    This was a really great cafe scientifique meeting on measuring temperature. The presenter just made you 'warm' to the subject. His explanations were clear and his demonstration 'toys' made it fun and informative. I particularly liked the long hose through which you could here the delayed sound of tapping one end. The triple point of water device was fascinating but nothing against the technical achievement of the new thermometer

    1 · June 18, 2014

  • Dipti

    Dr. Michael de Podesta was both entertaining and informative - who made thermometers and temperature exciting!!

    1 · June 17, 2014

  • Richard V.

    If you want an interesting "warm up" to this, listen to "super cool", a podcast by Radio Lab and find out what frozen horses and a scorching universe have in common?

    June 16, 2014

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