Celsius versus Centigrade: The Nomenclature of the Temperature Scale of Science

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Science  20 Apr 1962:
Vol. 136, Issue 3512, pp. 254-255
DOI: 10.1126/science.136.3512.254


The temperature scale used by scientists in America has been called centigrade, while in many countries it was called Celsius for its inventor. In 1948 the 9th General Conference on Weights and Measures, representing 33 nations that subscribed to the Treaty of the Meter, adopted the name Celsius. This name, however, did not come into general use by scientists in America, partly because they were unaware of the official action of the conference and partly because some preferred the old name. At the 11th General Conference in 1960 the scale was defined in a way that makes the adjective centigrade inexact. The name Celsius is correct and its use by American scientists would help make the nomenclature of temperature uniform in all countries.