The kelvin is the base unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI), having the unit symbol K. It is named after the Belfast-born Glasgow University engineer and physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824–1907).
|Unit system||SI base unit|
|Named after||William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin|
The kelvin is now defined by fixing the numerical value of the Boltzmann constant k to 1.380649×10−23 J⋅K−1. Hence, one kelvin is equal to a change in the thermodynamic temperature T that results in a change of thermal energy kT by 1.380649×10−23 J.
The Kelvin scale fulfills Thomson's requirements as an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale. It uses absolute zero as its null point (i.e. low entropy). The relation between kelvin and Celsius scales is TK = t°C + 273.15. On the Kelvin scale, pure water freezes at 273.15 K, and it boils at 373.15 K in 1 atm.
Unlike the degree Fahrenheit and degree Celsius, the kelvin is not referred to or written as a degree. The kelvin is the primary unit of temperature measurement for the physical sciences, but is often used in conjunction with the degree Celsius, which has the same magnitude.