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  • A thermometer is a device that measures temperature or a temperature gradient using a variety of different principles. A thermometer has two important elements: the temperature sensor in which some physical change occurs with temperature, plus some means of converting this physical change into a numerical value. Operating principles of thermometers include the thermal expansion of solids or liquids with temperature, or 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. Thermometers are widely used in industry to control and regulate processes, in the study of weather, in medicine, and scientific research. Some of the principles of the thermometer were known to Greek philosophers of two thousand years ago; by the 18th century, standardized scales allowed the readings of different thermometers inter-comparable.

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