eli5: If 1 degree celsius is 33.8 degrees fahrenheit, how come 67.6 degrees fahrenheit isn’t 2 degrees celsius?


I’ve always wondered this and I don’t think I Learned about it in school, it’s so confusing to me

In: Mathematics

Because Fahrenheit and Celsius have different base points.

0°C is the freezing point of water, while 0°F is the freezing point of a mixture of equals parts water, salt and ice.

The conversion formula between Celsius and Fahrenheit isn’t linear. The formula is:

Fahrenheit = Celsius x (9/5) + 32.

And the inverse:

Celsius = (Fahrenheit – 32) x (5/9)

They’re measuring from different base points. It’s like saying that it’s 1 meter from your front door to the end of your porch and 40 feet from your back door to that same point, so how come 80 feet from your back door isn’t 2 meters from your front door?

As others have said, they’re measured from different arbitrary zero points. This, in fact, is why they are both called “degrees” (and Kelvin is not). “Degree” in science indicates an arbitrary measure.

Bacause they are based on different intervals and therefore their scales differ.

A degree in Fahrenheit is 1/180 of the interval between the freezing point and the boiling point of water.

A degree in Celsius is 1/100 of the interval between the freezing point and the boiling point if water.

You can freely convert between the two where C = (F – 32)*(5/9)

Imagine we are walking together on a track and I decide that I want to count how many steps it takes me to complete a lap. 32 steps in, I bring up the fact that I’m counting my steps and you think it’d be cool to count and compare your steps to mine so you start counting too. Now, I’m a pretty short person so I take a lot of steps to complete the lap, 212 steps to be precise. You’re taller than me and started counting part of the way in so it only took you 100 steps.

When you first started counting your steps I was already 32 steps in. My 33rd step and your 1st step happened at the same time, but your first step isnt as long as my 33 steps, we just started counting at different spots.

To show this even further imagine that you have a twin brother who started counting steps way before me. When you start, he’s already 273 steps in. Now you guys are the same height because you’re twins so your steps are the same length. Your first step happens at the same time as his 274th step but it’s wrong to say that your 1 step covered the same distance as his 274.