Mole Day — It’s not a day to celebrate our favorite insectivore, but a day to celebrate chemistry! Mole Day was started to as a fun was to create interest in maybe a not so exciting subject. The date (October 23) and the time of its celebration (from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m.) represents , Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.
Many high schools around the United States, South Africa and Canada celebrate Mole Day as a way to get their students interested in chemistry, with various activities often related to chemistry or moles.
For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. An atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20, therefore one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. This relationship was first discovered by Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1858) and he received credit for this after his death.
Somehow, I expect several of you to tell me you knew a mole was something more than a furry animal that burrows, and you knew the meaning of Mole Day… (sigh) I learn something most every day! Will this be today’s lesson for me? What else can I learn today?