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How to Convert Between Fahrenheit and Celsius

Learn an easy way to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius (and vice versa)—and check if the weather outside is frightful.

By
Jason Marshall, PhD,
May 3, 2013
Episode #086

Page 2 of 3

How to Convert From Fahrenheit to Celsius

But how can you take any temperature given in degrees Fahrenheit and convert it into a temperature in degrees Celsius? The quick and dirty tip is to remember that:

temperature in degrees Celsius = (temperature in degrees Fahrenheit – 32) / 1.8

For example, to convert a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (which is the boiling point of water) into a temperature on the Celsius scale, simply subtract 32 from 212 to get 212 – 32 = 180, and then divide this number by 1.8 to get 180 / 1.8 = 100 degrees Celsius. That’s it!

How can you remember that you have to subtract 32 and not add 32 and that you have to divide by 1.8 and not multiply by 1.8 in this conversion? The quick and dirty way is to remember that the temperature of something in degrees Celsius is always a smaller number than its temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (at least for positive temperatures). As we just saw, the boiling point of water, 212 degrees Fahrenheit, corresponds to 100 degrees Celsius…which is a smaller number. If you can remember that, it’ll be easy to also remember that when converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius you have to subtract 32 and then divide by 1.8 since both of these things make the temperature smaller…exactly as it must be.

How to Convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit

[[AdMiddle]How about going the other way and converting from a temperature in degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit? Well, if you play around with the equation we just learned, you’ll find that you can convert from degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit by first multiplying by 1.8 and then adding 32 to the result, like this:

temperature in degrees Fahrenheit = (temperature in degrees Celsius • 1.8) + 32

For example, imagine you’re traveling in Europe and are told to stay hydrated since it’s going to be 40 degrees Celsius. How hot is that? Well, just multiply 40 by 1.8 to get 40 • 1.8 = 72 and then add 32 to this to find that 40 degrees Celsius is equal to 72 + 32 = 104 degrees Fahrenheit. So, yes, that’s mighty hot indeed! And that’s all there is to converting from one temperature scale to another.

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