# heat/cold ratios [Was: times lower than]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Sep 5 14:40:46 UTC 2007

```At 9/4/2007 11:24 PM, sagehen wrote:
>I don't think the arbitrary application of a scale to a quality makes it a
>quantifiable substance.  The degrees of the scale are quantities, but cold
>is not.  You (probably) wouldn't say  20 Kelvin is twice as cold as 40K,
>would you?  For one thing, you'd have to have some upper point at which
>"cold" begins, where "warm" ends.
>AM

That seems like claiming that in order to say
about integers that one is "twice as large" or
"twice as small" as another, one would have to
have some point at which "small" ends and "large" begins.

I really do believe the Kelvin scale has the
ratio property; that is, numbers on the Kelvin
scale can be multiplied and divided.  From
Wikipedia, under "Kelvin", "The Kelvin scale is a
thermodynamic (absolute) temperature scale where
absolute zero  the coldest possible temperature
 is zero kelvin (0 K)."  Under "Thermodynamic
temperature", "Thermodynamic temperature is the
absolute measure of temperature and is one of the
principal parameters of thermodynamics.
Thermodynamic temperature is an absolute scale
because it is the measure of the fundamental
property underlying temperature: its null or zero
point, absolute zero, is the temperature at which
the particle constituents of matter have minimal motion and can be no colder."

Thus the Kelvin scale measures the motion of
particles, their kinetic energy -- and one
collection of particles can have twice the
kinetic energy of another.  What I am not sure
of, given the way the unit of the Kelvin scale is
defined in relation to the Celsius scale
(according to the article "Thermodynamic
temperature"), is whether, for example, 40
degrees K or some other temperature is twice as warm as 20 degrees K.

By the way, if I said earlier that on the Kelvin
scale one could say that -4 is twice as cold as
-2, that was a blunder.  The Kelvin scale starts
at zero and has no negative temperatures.

Joel

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

```