Temperature is one of those aspects of the everyday world that seems rather abstract when viewed from the standpoint of physics. In scientific terms, it is not simply a measure of hot and cold, but an indicator of molecular motion and energy flow. Thermometers measure temperature by a number of means, including the expansion that takes place in a medium such as mercury or alcohol. These measuring devices are gauged in several different ways, with scales based on the freezing and boiling points of water—as well as, in the case of the absolute temperature scale, the point at which all molecular motion virtually ceases.

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