View Other Topics

Cold - A Definition

Jan 21, 2021

Image: Cold thermometer –
We are in the midst of a cold spell here in the Northern Hemisphere and each person defines cold differently depending on their sensitivity and/or enjoyment of lowered temperatures.  Discussions of exactly what cold is and isn't are synopsized and presented here for your enjoyment and understanding
Cold, noun, a term used of physical coldness; having a low or inadequate temperature or feeling a sensation of coldness or having been made cold by e.g. ice

Cold describes the condition of low temperature - Temperature is a physical property of a system that underlies the common notions of hot and cold; something that is hotter generally has the greater temperature. Temperature is one of the principal parameters of thermodynamics.
On the microscopic scale, temperature is defined as simply the average energy of microscopic motions of a single particle in the system per degree of freedom. On the bulk scale, common to non-scientists, temperature is defined as that unique physical property that is shared between two otherwise entirely unlike things that happen to be in thermal equilibrium with each other (meaning, no net heat energy is exchanged between them). For a solid, these microscopic motions are principally the vibrations of the constituent atoms about their sites in the solid. For an ideal monatomic gas, the microscopic motions are the translational motions of the constituent gas particles. For multi atomic gas vibrational and rotational motion should be included too.
Basically what this means is that "cold" is an abstract.  Scientists tell us there is no such thing as cold; that heat and cold are relative terms and that cold is merely the absence of heat. Mathematically expressed, then, heat is a plus quantity and cold a minus one, and, metaphysically speaking, one is a positive entity and the other a negative abstraction.
Does that make you feel better?  Didn't think so.  But it's much easier to understand that you feel like you're freezing because of an absence of heat... ahhh for the lovely days of July!

Share This Blog with Friends!

  • Starz Radio
  • Blog
  • Yahoo!
  • Google Groups
  • Starz Youtube