To set the record straight, Mole Day is not a celebration of or for the furry, blind creatures that tunnel under the lawn.
Rather, Mole Day celebrates a unit of mass in chemistry this is almost infinitesimally small by calcuting it using an impossibly large number.
A mole is a little tiny thing
Simply put, a mole is an weight in grams of a particulate molecule equal to its atomic mass – the mass of the protons and neutrons in its nucleus.
Take for instance, one molecule of silver (Ag), which has an atomic number of 47.
One mole of silver weighs 47 grams.
As it happens, one mole of anything contains the same number of molecules, regardless of atomic masses or other measures.
This relationship of molecules to moles was first posited by 18th-century chemist and physicist Amadeo Avogadro.
6.0221413 x 10 to the 23rd
602,214,130,000,000,000,000,000, you’ll admit, is an (almost) impossibly large number to wrap your head around.
It’s Avogadro’s Number.
It’s easier to imagine (but only slightly) an area of about 262,000 square miles (roughly the size of the state of Texas) covered by a layer of sand particles each 1/100 of an inch in diameter piled up to a depth of 50 feet.
That’s the number of sand molecules that equals Avogadro’s Number.
It’s the number of water molecules in a mole of water, the number of Scotch molecules in a mole of Scotch, the number of peanut butter molecules in a mole of in peanut butter.
Rock me, Amedeo!
Born June 9, 1776, Italian Amadeo Avogadro may indeed be the father of the mole.
Most certainly it is he who in 1811 proposed Avogadro’s Constant, which states that the same volumes of different gases kept at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules.
In the early 19th century, Avogadro would not, of course, had any way to look at molecules, much less count them, but by studying the behavior of gases and other materials in his experiments he could hypothesize that tiny little particles of gas existed in what might to some appear to be only empty space.
In 1860, about four years after Avogadro’s death, his colleague Stanislao Cannizzaro in spite of some inconsistencies in measure due to reactions at temperature, Avogador’s Constant proved not only molecular mass but also atomic mass.
About Mole Day & the National Mole Day Foundation
Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry.
Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: email@example.com