Weather Watcher: Galileo’s Thermometer

Weather Watcher: Galileo’s Thermometer

MaryAnne Petrella
Jul 11, 2011

The genius of Galileo Galilei is indisputable. Known widely as the "Father of Modern Science," his ideas and inventions are as important today as they were is the early 17th century. This beautiful, sculptural thermometer is just one example of his mind's work, and one that makes an enchanting, functional addition to any home.

Galileo's Thermometer employs the principle of buoyancy. A Series of weighted glass bulbs, filled with colorful liquid are sealed within the larger glass tube of clear liquid. As the temperature of the clear liquid changes, so does its density. The density of the weighted bulbs too is affected in relation to the clear liquid, so that they rise and fall with the least dense at the top. Each bulb is tagged in degrees (in this case, degrees Celsius), meaning whichever bulb is in the upper-most position reflects the ambient temperature.

While the science behind this tool is interesting, the visuals it provides are enough to satisfy; a practical, delightful design element with a nod to one of history's greats.

(Image: MaryAnne Petrella)

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