The historical development of thermometry and thermal imaging in medicine

J Med Eng Technol. 2006 Jul-Aug;30(4):192-8. doi: 10.1080/03091900600711332.


Human body temperature has been an important part of medicine since very early times. However, until the thermometer was developed in the 16th century measurement was not possible. Some 200 years later, Wunderlich laid the foundation for clinical thermometry, and temperature charts became commonplace throughout the world. More recently thermal imaging has broadened the understanding of body surface temperature in health and disease. Standards for computer-assisted infrared imaging are well developed, and present-day fast high-resolution imaging is less expensive and more reliable than it was 40 years ago.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared / history*
  • Thermography / history*
  • Thermometers / history*