How does a Thermometer measure your temperature? : The Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics

in steemstem •  last year

Hello Steemians!!

(credit: WordArt)

Ever looked at the bright blue sky, so unfathomable and asked yourself, “Why is man not hot?”
If you don’t know this reference, I want to ask you. Does it hurt? Does it hurt being pressed by the rock that you live under?

(credit: meme generator)

One might imagine sick perverted things when they hear about going down. Well, stop it. Because we’re going down on science. It’s not as sensual as you think. Or is it? you nasty!! Today we are going to go down on the number that represents a law to a point where it seems preposterous but is actually very logical. The Zeroth (what I came every race from Kindergarten through 2nd grade in every race) law of thermodynamics ladies and gentlemen, is the most basic, and I mean the most basic, law in thermodynamics. More basic than your ex. So basic it broke the pH scale.

You will probably understand it even if you do not have any prior education. The only pre requisites are that you understand English and have common sense. It will not require any equations but you do not need to understand words to slay the Zeroth law. I don’t care even if you believe in YOLO or if you sexually identify yourself as an apache helicopter. You will get it. That’s what she said ;) (But I did not get it. Sed lyfzz)

Now let’s get into it.

Any law has to have a statement because what is a law without a statement. Exactly! Not a law.

Statement: The zeroth law of thermodynamics states that if two thermodynamic systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other.


Now let us go beyond the words and discover what it is.

Thermodynamic system- This means anything that is under our study or attention. What we focus on is our system. In science terms, anything under our observation is the system and anything around is the surrounding.


For example, at the gym, the girl doing the squats would be my system while the people watching me and thinking I’m a pervert and everything else around would be the surrounding. Now, what separates a system from a surrounding? A boundary. In my case, the boundary is society. So, a boundary separates or creates a distinction between a system and a surrounding.

Now that you have a general idea of a system let us move on to Thermal Equilibrium.

Thermal equilibrium: Thermal means temperature wise in a rough translation and Equilibrium mean in equality or balanced with. So thermal equilibrium would mean equality in temperature or Same temperature. If you are not familiar with this, you can see how scientists could use jargon to curse at you and you wouldn’t even know it.

The Breakdown:

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Now, we can break down the statement. When two thermodynamic systems are in thermal equilibrium with a third system, that is, when two different systems or things under our observations have the same temperature as a third object, then those two objects have the same temperature.

(credit: memegenerator)

If you’re cool with a genre of music and I’m cool with the same genre of music, then we both are cool with each other. The friend of my friend is a friend. Many ways to say the same thing.

Folks, you now know what the zeroth law of thermodynamics is.


But how does this help us?

Well, there are many things that work but the underlying principle is beyond us at times. Nature be trippin’ haha. This law is one of those underlying principles for a very basic (and I cannot stress this enough) phenomenon that we’ve been seeing from early childhood.

So, you need to measure your temperature. You might insert it under you armpits or perhaps to more unpleasant places like, you know. I’m talking about the mouth. So, there’s a temperature bulb that is in contact with your body. So, the thermometer mercury rises. Is this sorcery? Nope. I’m sorry to disappoint the whole believers community but it isn’t. This is the Zeroth law of thermodynamics in action. The bulb is in so called “thermal equilibrium” with your body. Similarly, the mercury rises to the point it no longer does which means the mercury is not expanding anymore because its temperature has risen all it could and now it is in thermal equilibrium with the bulb.



Now, wait a minute. So, the skin is in thermal equilibrium with the bulb and the bulb with the liquid. What does that mean? The mercury shows the temperature same as that of your body. And just like that. Like a boss. The Zeroth law comes into action to save the day. Your temperature won’t go down but at least you put a number on it. Beyonce’s new single lyrics “If you thought it was fever, you should have put a number on it.”

Now you can know why man’s not hot. Because he wears the jacket which is warm and his body is in thermal equilibrium with the jacket and he’s warm too. But wait! It’s cold outside. But he’s not hot even though he wears a jacket! Wait! Damn! I’m sorry folks. I cannot tell you why man’s not hot. He just isn’t! Okay?? But we can tell the degree of how not-hot he is. Science is still working on why he isn't hot maybe.

The books used for this were:

Young, H. D., Freedman, R. A., Ford, A. L., & Sears, F. W. (2004). Sears and Zemansky's university physics: With modern physics. San Francisco: Pearson Addison Wesley.

The Images are all carefully picked so as not to break any copyright laws.

Thank you for your time and patience. Until next time. Skrrrt Pop Pop!!

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I love your humor! It was one of the most entertaining science posts I have read and with clear examples. Please do more! :)


Hey @elemenya, I really appreciate your encouragement very much. I feel I go a little too much with the humor thing and I'm trying to keep that in check haha. Thank you once again.

Haha. This is some witty and informative stuff.
High School Degree Coming to use, Eh!



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