The lower defining point, 0 °F, was established as the temperature of a solution of brine made from equal parts of ice and salt.


0 °C was defined as the freezing point of water and 100 °C was defined as the boiling point of water

Why hasn't anyone used human body normal temperature as 0? It would be much more logical for humans to base temperature scale on our body, not something that is outside.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please check wikipedia how the Fahrenheit scale was developed. And no, there is no "logic" behind that. Convenience, perhaps. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 21:01
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Interesting point. Water is a pretty important part of human physiology though, so the Celsius scale is not completely irrelevant to the human body. I suspect water's importance to human physiology was a major reason for using it's properties for a temperature scale. I just saw DavePhD's answer though and I had no idea there actually was a "physiological scale"! Again, interesting question. $\endgroup$
    – airhuff
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ Why on earth should it make sense to have a temperature scale based on human body temperature, which is not very constant to begin with ? And what does this have to do with chemistry? Please close question. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 21:27
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I will not be voting to close the question as it at least loosely fits the history-of-chemistry tag. Virtually every chemical process has some relationship, cause and/or effect, to temperature. Choice of a temperature scale to be used in the sciences has historically not been a simple process. Different temperature regimes are important to different disciplines. Until relatively recently, erroneous concepts of absolute zero abounded. Although the ultimate choice of temperature scale is fundamentally arbitrary, the history of this choice is loaded with scientific invention and discovery. $\endgroup$
    – airhuff
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ As @airhuff, I think this question is valid for "history of chemistry" and hence suggest to keep it. Temperature is one of the fundamental properties of matter; and as science is dynamic, evolving, depending on the field of application some scales are used more frequently, than others. And in contrast to Karl's second comment I assume, it is thanks to both i) establishing a scale (perhaps "at all"), and ii) learning how to measure accurately "temperature" as comparison with references, that we recognized body temperature varies. $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


Why nobody used human body normal temperature as 0?

That has been done.

See Medical Thermometry and Human Temperature at page 12:

37° Centigrade scale

29.6° Reaumur

98.6° Fahrenheit

77° Walferdin's tetracentigrade

0° of the physiological scale

Then the physiological scale is further discussed starting on page 265, which includes a drawing of a physiological scale thermometer.

physiological 0 is placed in the centre of the drama, whose acts are health, sickness, and death


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.