thermometers

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Wikipedia definition:

A Thermometer is a device that measures temperature or a temperature gradient. A thermometer has two important elements: (1) a temperature sensor (e.g. the bulb of a mercury-in-glass thermometer) in which some physical change occurs with temperature, and (2) some means of converting this physical change into a numerical value (e.g. the visible scale that is marked on a mercury-in-glass thermometer). Thermometers are widely used in industry to control and regulate processes, in the study of weather, in medicine, and in scientific research. There are various principles by which different thermometers operate. They include the thermal expansion of solids or liquids with temperature, and the change in pressure of a gas on heating or cooling. Radiation-type thermometers measure the infrared energy emitted by an object, allowing measurement of temperature without contact. Most metals are good conductors of heat and they are solids at room temperature. Mercury is the only one in liquid state at room temperature, and has high coefficient of expansion. Hence, the slightest change in temperature is notable when it's used in a thermometer. This is the reason behind mercury being used in thermometer. Some of the principles of the thermometer were known to Greek philosophers of two thousand years ago. The modern thermometer gradually evolved from the thermoscope with the addition of a scale in the early 17th century and standardisation through the 17th and 18th centuries.

Source: Wikipedia - Thermometer