It has been a while since I have done a chemistry themed blog, but today, October 23 is the day to do one. Although you might think of the small furry creatures when someone mentions a mole, today’s mole is a unit of measurement in chemistry. This seems a little technical, but I’ll try to make it understandable. If chemistry or math makes your eyes cross, feel free to skip the next paragraph.
A water molecule is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. If you look at a periodical table, you see that hydrogen is the first element and oxygen the sixteenth. These numbers are related to the mass of the atom. A water molecule has a mass of 16 plus 2 (1 for each of the hydrogen atoms), which equals 18, so one mole of water weighs 18 grams. But now comes the reason for October 23 being Mole Day.
To figure out how many atoms make up one mole of anything, you multiply the mass by something called Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is 6.02 times 10 with 23 zeros after it. Therefore, mole day is celebrated from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm on 10/23, or October 23 written in American date notation.
The National Mole Day Foundation created this holiday in 1991 to foster interest in chemistry. When I was writing this blog, their Web site had been down for about a month, but you can find them on Facebook, where they have information about the day, and mole-themed merchandise to buy.
Mole Day typically falls during National Chemistry Week—an annual event that unites American Chemical Society Local Sections, businesses, schools, and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry in everyday life.
And to end, here is a terrible mole pun:
What did one mole say to the other?… We make great chemistry together.
Quotes about chemistry
Engineering, too, owes its most useful materials to the achievements of chemists in identifying, separating, and transforming materials: structural steel for the framework of bridges and buildings, Portland cement for roadways and aqueducts, pure copper for the electrical industries, aluminum alloys for automobiles and airplanes, porcelain for spark plugs and electrical insulators. The triumphs of engineering skill rest on a chemical foundation.–Horace G. Deming
Chemistry itself knows altogether too well that – given the real fear that the scarcity of global resources and energy might threaten the unity of mankind – chemistry is in a position to make a contribution towards securing a true peace on earth.–Kenichi Fukui
Few scientists acquainted with the chemistry of biological systems at the molecular level can avoid being inspired.–Donald Cram
I try to show the public that chemistry, biology, physics, astrophysics is life. It is not some separate subject that you have to be pulled into a corner to be taught about.–Neil deGrasse Tyson
I can’t explain chemistry. I really can’t. I haven’t got a clue what it’s all about. It just happens. It’s like falling in love. You can’t explain why you fall in love or explain why it’s this particular person.–Elaine Stritch
Now in the 21st century, the boundaries separating chemistry, physics, and medicine have become blurred, and as happened during the Renaissance, scientists are following their curiosities even when they run beyond the formal limits of their training.–Peter Agre
My eyes are constantly wide open to the extraordinary fact of existence. Not just human existence, but the existence of life and how this breathtakingly powerful process, which is natural selection, has managed to take the very simple facts of physics and chemistry and build them up to redwood trees and humans.–Richard Dawkins
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