Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Made You Avocado

Today is National Mole Day! No, it's not for the animal. It's not for that weird thing growing on your back, either. It's based off of Avogadro's Number. You may remember Avogadro's Number from high school chemistry as being (6.02 x 10^23), or you may be more like me: simply remembering his name vaguely because it sounds like 'Avocado' and that was more entertaining to you at the time.

Well, the number is used as a unit to measure the atomic mass of a molecule. The actual would look like this: 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Or you could say 'Six hundred and two sextillion". Frankly neither is very efficient, which is why there's a shorthand for writing such large numbers, and why every scientist should rename every important number after a notable figure. How much easier is it to say 'Avogadro's Number'?

It's celebrated today because of the 10^23 (It's like 10/23). Celebrate today by finding the atomic mass of all the molecules in an avocado. That seems fitting.

Thanks for reading!

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