Temperature (Google etymology)
A Google-generated temperature etymology; pinning its "modern sense" meaning to the 17th century, e.g. Robert Boyle, as in "degree of of heat or cold".
In thermodynamics, temperature is the "degree of heat or cold" of an object (Boyle, 1670); a "tension associated with entropy, which follows from the zeroth law" (Perrot, 1998); or a "tendency of an object or system to spontaneously give up energy" (Schroeder, 2000). [1]

The etymology of “temperature”, according Douglas Harper’s (Ѻ)(Ѻ) Online Etymology Dictionary, traces to the 15th century: [10]

“mid-15c., ‘fact of being tempered, proper proportion;’ 1530s, ‘character or nature of a substance,’ from Latin temperatura ‘a tempering, moderation,’ from temperatus, past participle of temperare ‘to mix in due proportion, modify, blend; restrain oneself’ (see temper (v.)). Sense of ‘degree of heat or cold’ first recorded 1670 (Boyle), from Latin temperatura, used in this sense by Galileo. Meaning ‘fever, high temperature’ is attested from 1898.”

In 1848, William Thomson introduced the absolute temperature scale.

In 1878, based on the kinetic theory, Scottish physicist James Maxwell defined temperature of a body as “the average kinetic energy of translation of one of its molecules multiplied by a constant which is the same for all bodies.” [4]

Thermometer | Social thermometer
A device or indicator for temperature measurement is called a thermometer. A device or indicator for social temperature measurement is called a "social thermometer". Though such a device is yet to be invented, there have been no shortage of speculations in this area.

“Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.”
Napoleon Bonaparte (c.1810), Publication

In 1930, French sociological philosopher Maurice Halbwachs uses the terms social temperature and in another instance moral temperature to allude to the suggestion that the suicide rate of a particular group of humans could be considered as a gauge of the moral temperature of the group: [8]

“The number of suicides [in a region] can be considered a sort of thermometric indicator which informs us of the condition of the mores, of the moral temperature of a group.”

(add discussion)
Hot or Not (composite photos)
Left: a visual hot-cold temperature scale of sorts, three morphed images per photo, taken from the previously active HotOrNot.com website, in respect to average visual attractiveness aspects of beauty. Right: a 2008 video (Ѻ) of “Thermodynamics of Hot For Words” by Libb Thims.

One of the earliest attempts to extrapolate the standard definition of temperature to human systems was the conception of "economic temperature" by Emanuele Sella in 1915. [5]

In economic thermodynamics, temperature T has been used in measure the level of spending or income per person by authors such as German metallurgist Jürgen Mimkes (2005) and John Bryant (2007). [6]

In 2009, Chinese physicist Yi-Fang Chang suggested that social temperature could be defined by the following equation:

 T = c \bar{K} (t) \!

where  \bar{K}    \! is an average value of the social kinetic energy. [9] In this sense, in theory, as a type of human thermodynamic instrument or indicator, one could use GPS tracking devices to measure the kinetic energy, or the sum of ½ the masses of the human particles times their respective average velocities squared, of a system of human molecules under study and thus get a hypothetical reading of temperature of a social system.

In his 2010 article “Stokes Integral of Economic Growth”, Mimkes argues that GDP per capita may be representative of the temperature of the economic system. [7]

In human social systems, comprised of human molecules, the definition of temperature becomes very complex. In this sence, the conception of the physical or neurological "hotness" of a person becomes a paramount issue.

The adjacent, November 26, 2008, video "Thermodynamics of HotForWords", made by American chemical engineer Libb Thims, gives a loose idea the difficulties involved in the assignment of temperatures, in reference to the Kelvin scale, in human life.

In general, the concept of temperature in human thermodynamics is one of the most difficult terms to understand and model. Beyond this, how does one, for instance, correlated the "physical heat" of a person, an example of which is shown below via thirty-person composite Hot or Not photos, with the reading on a standard thermometer?

Moreover, how does one correlate "temperature" with neurological heat, e.g. the fact that intellect correlates with sexual attractiveness. [2] These are deep questions in both human chemistry and human thermodynamics. [3]

1. Schroeder, Daniel, V. (2000). An Introduction to Thermal Physics. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
2. Buss, David. (1994). The Evolution of Desire. New York: Basic Books.
3. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One), (preview), (ch. 2: "Attraction and Repulsion", pgs. 147-182). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two), (preview), (ch. 16: "Human Thermodynamics", pgs. 653-699). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
4. (a) Maxwell, James C. (1878). “Tait’s ‘Thermodynamics’ (I)”, (pgs. 257-59). Nature, Jan. 31.
(b) Maxwell, James C. (1878). “
Tait’s ‘Thermodynamics’ (II)”, (pgs. 278-81). Nature, Feb. 07.
5. Erreygers, Guido. (2001). Economics and Interdisciplinary Exchange, (pg. 160-163). Routledge.
6. (a) Mimkes, Jürgen and Aruka, Y. (2005). “Carnot Process of Wealth Distribution” in Econophysics of Wealth Distributions, edited by A. Chatterjee, S. Yarlagadda, B. Chakrabarti. Springer.
(b) Bryant, John. (2007). “A Thermodynamic Theory of Economics”, International Journal of Exergy, 4, (pgs. 302-37).
7. Mimkes, Jurgen. (2010). “Stokes Integral of Economic Growth: Calculus and Solow Model” (abstract), Physica A, 389: 1665-76.
8. Halbwachs, Maurice. (1930). The Causes of Suicide (social temperature, pg. 289; moral temperature, pg. 6). Taylor and Francis.
9. Chang, Yi-Fang. (2009). “Social Synergetics, Social Physics, and Research of Fundamental Laws in Social Complex Systems” (abstract), eprint arXiv: 0911.1155.
10. Temperature – EtymOnline.com.

Further reading
● Chang, Hasok. (2004). Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress. Oxford University Press.

● Anon. (2009). “Thermodynamic Temperature” (Ѻ), The Science Channel, Aug 14.

External links
Temperature – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns