October 23, 2010

National Mole Day – U.S.
(Avogadro's Number)

This is NOT a holiday to honor the digging mammal called a mole!

Instead, it is a day commemorating Avogadro's Number, which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.

Actually, just PART of the day is Mole Day. From 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., on 10-23, we celebrate this chemistry commemoration. That's because Avogadro's Number is 6.02 x 10^23.

For any molecule, one mole is a mass in grams whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, a water molecule (H2O) has an atomic mass of 18. So one mole of water weighs 18 grams.

In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro's Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. Another way of saying that is that 18 grams of water has 6.02 x 10^23 molecules of water.

Learn about Mole Day, Avogadro's Number / moles, and chemistry!

  • Mole is just a word that stands for a number. (Granted, it's a pretty ginormous number!) It's a one-syllable word for a number that is used a lot by chemists, and the word is there so that chemists can easily refer to the number.

In other words, instead of saying “six point zero two times ten to the twenty-third power,” chemists just say “mole.” If you want to see a more complete explanation, go here
  • Here is another good explanation of Avogadro's Number, which is sometimes called “the chemist's dozen.” 
  • Check out Meg A. Mole's interviews with chemists here

One of the interviews is with Anshul Samar, who created a chemistry game called Elementeo. 

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