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I have a question about the placement of the degree symbol. At the moment we learn how to calculate the specific heat. I was just wondering how our book writes C. Sometimes the little point is in front of the C, like this C and sometimes they write it after the C . Is there a difference between the two types of writing, or is it just because of the different type?
Question Date: 2001-10-15
Answer 1:

I'm not familiar with a temperature format with the degree symbol in front. Usually temperature is written as, say, 10 degrees C (or F) with the little circular symbol substituting for the "degrees" before the C. Degrees, as you know, are the units that temperature is divided into and the C or F determine which temperature scale you are using.

It's quite possible that a chemistry or physics textbook would have a letter with what seems to be a degree symbol after, but I think that would be denoting something other than temperature. In a chemistry text book, for example, it might mean a quantity that is measured at a "standard" state. A "standard" state usually means 25 (or 0) degrees C and 1 atmosphere of pressure. Often it is used when a quantity changes with temperature and pressure. What properties do you think would change if you changed the temperature and/or pressure of a sample of water?

Here's a website that has some more "info" about the temperature scales:
click here

As an aside, when you learn about the absolute temperature scale, also known as Kelvin, you usually omit the "degrees" and say, for example, 273.15 K = 0 degrees C.

Answer 2:

Typically, the degree symbol is placed before the C (or F), as in degrees Celsius (or Fahrenheit). I have never seen it placed after the C... Perhaps it could be if it were translated from a different language?

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