Anders Celsius Inventions and Accomplishments


Many people utilize the inventions of Anders Celsius without probably even realizing it. Celsius was born in 1701 and was a professor of astronomy in Sweden. He actually took over his father’s teaching job at the local university. What we remember Celsius for is his invention of the Celsius scale, which is a measurement of temperature that goes from 0 to 100 degrees in most concepts. 100 degrees is when water boils and 0 degrees is when water freezes. What many do not realize, however, is that Celsius actually had the temperatures in reverse.

Celsius had a number of additional inventions, though some less famous ones, over the course of his life as well. Let’s take a look.

#1. Sweden’s First Observatory

Because Celsius had a passion for astronomy, he wanted to see his local community become a leader in this area of science. He actually built Sweden’s first observatory in his home town in 1741 and was appointed the first director of it. In this influential position is when he created the Celsius scale, but he was also known for campaigning for using the Gregorian calendar as well.

#2. The Northern Lights

Of course Celsius didn’t actually invent the Northern Lights, but in 1733 he was able to publish over 300 different observations he had made regarding the aurora borealis. Part of his work became useful just 4 years later because Celsius was invited on an expedition to determine if the world was actually flattened at the poles, as Isaac Newton was suggesting, or more flattened around the circumference of the planet.

#3. Magnetic Influence

While observing the Northern Lights, Celsius noticed that there was something strange that would happen to a compass when the lights would fire. It was well known that a compass would almost always point north, but this was changed when the Northern Lights would occur. The needles would change their influence because of the magnetic manipulation that was occurring.

#4. Global Warming

What will surprise many is the fact that Celsius had drawn the conclusion from his observations that the world was actually beginning to warm up, little by little. He was concerned that if the Earth grew too warm, the ice caps at the poles would begin to melt. If that happened, he figured, the water levels would rise and would create coastal problems around the world. This makes Celsius one of the first people to recognize what the dangers of global warming could be.

Anders Celsius was a very creative man who wasn’t afraid of a good idea. Unfortunately many of his research projects were left uncompleted because of his untimely death at the age of 42. He even had started a story that was based on the star Sirius, following his love of astronomy. Even though Celsius died at a relatively young age, his name continues to live on because of his temperature scale. When you hear about how hot or cold it is going to be today, stop for a moment and thank Anders Celsius.

It would probably make him smile if he knew.

Northern Lights Explained