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Galilean thermometer: creative temperature readings

Updated on December 10, 2011
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported | Source

Neat Decorative Thermometer: the Galilean thermometer

Forget the lava lamp, the fish tank, or other gizmos. Did you know you could have things floating around and give you the temperature at the same time? The Galileo thermometer can.

Although these kinds of thermometers have been around even before Galileo's time, this specific type of product was recently launched. It just so happens it was named after the famous physicist. The unique playful, yet modern, design make these thermometers not only useful but also fun to have around.

Because of their fun, whimsical nature, they also make great gifts. Show off your refined tastes in decor by giving away a chic thermometer like the galileo thermometer. Let your friends know there is more to thermometers than the old fashioned mercury-based thermometers or the new digital ones. 

Practice reading the galilean thermometer


How do Galileo thermometers work?

All of the various bulbs, representing different temperatures, have different densities, because of the different liquids they hold. Each bulb is accompanied by a weight also with its own density. As temperature changes, the density of the liquid, materials, and bulbs all change. This allows you to read the temperature!

How to read the temperature off of a galilean thermometer:

Look at the thermometer and you'll notice some balls will end up relatively close by while others may be separated by one or more gaps.

  • If the bulbs end up separating into two groups (one group at the top, one group at the bottom), and there is one bulb kind of in between but not really part of either group, then that is the temperature!
  • If the bulbs end up separating into two groups, but there isn't one in the middle that seems separated from either group, then you take the average of the lowest bulb of the top group and the highest bulb of the bottom group.

More Facts about Galileo thermometers

  • Temperature is both in Celsius and Fahrenheit
  • Made of glass, so keep out of young children's reach


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    • Playdoh profile image

      Playdoh 7 years ago from Michigan

      I have one of these. Very nice conversation piece for the home.


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