How big would a watermelon have to be to hold a mole of seeds?
New York, NY (PRWEB) October 16, 2006
If the only moles you know of are the ones that eat holes in gardens, you’re in danger of making a mole-hill out of a mountain on the geek calendar: Mole Day.
Today, with the premiere online of Cyber Avogadro at MathematiciansPictures.com, the festivities have started, and the world-wide count-down begins to Mole Day, celebrated October 23rd from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm by intrepid geeks, students, teachers, and in chemistry and physics labs across the United States and around the world.
Although a buck-toothed garden mole is its symbol– emblazoned on Mole Day T-shirts and posters -- Mole Day celebrates one of the first large numbers to be regularly used in scientific calculations -- the mole. Originally developed in the 19th century, the mole is a base unit in the International System of Units (SI) used in science today.
The mole is used by chemists, physicists and other scientists in the development of everything from household cleaners and toothpaste, to wonder drugs, and the silicon that powers the computer you may be reading this on right now.
How big is a Mole? Big. Around 602 billion trillion -- that's 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
Howard Green, a spokesman for MathematiciansPictures.com, which supplies special Mole Day T-shirts, posters, and other Mole Day gear, points out, “A mole is a unit of measurement used in chemistry -- like we use 'a dozen' to count doughnuts. But if you were counting molecules, even if you could count them at 10 million per second, it would still take 2 billion years to count a mole of molecules. So it comes in handy to be able to say “there’s a mole of them."
Why is Mole Day celebrated on October 23rd? MathematiciansPictures spokesperson Green explains, “because the quantity represented by a mole is written in scientific notation as 6.02 x 10^23. The time and date corresponding to this, using the American system of writing dates, is 6:02 am to 6:02 pm October 23rd.”
A cyber version of 19th century scientist Amedeo Avogadro premieres online today at MathematiciansPictures.com, with Avogadro reciting the essential words from his 1811 hypothesis that later led others to the calculation of the mole. The quantity in a mole, 6.02 x 10^23, is known as Avogadro’s Number, and Mole Day is celebrated in Avogadro's honor.
As well as wearing Mole Day T shirts and putting up Mole Day posters, schools celebrate Mole Day in the chemistry department with special activities. There are Mole Day contests, with questions such as "How big would a watermelon have to be to hold a mole of seeds?". And lots of corny Mole Day jokes, like "What was Avogadro’s best golf shot? A mole in one."
Asked how MathematiciansPictures.com celebrates Mole Day, Green advised: “Eating molasses cookies -- at least until October 31st we need the energy to keep shipping the popular MathematiciansPictures.com geek Halloween costumes -- Tshirts emblazoned with Pumpkin Pi.”
As for Avogadro, without exaggeration he'd probably be quite pleased to see how a mountain grew up from might what have remained a mole-hill.
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