In which I redouble my vain effort to mark time with a chemical interlude
“Chemical interlude” sounds like I mean drugs. LOL.
Anyway, a happy Mole Day (scientific abbreviation: mol) to all! If you thought you’d never find something non-arts/humanities-based on this blog…well, I’m a multifaceted gal, and this is a legitimate holiday.
My observation of it dates back to my wonderful high-school chemistry class. As deranged as that sentence might sound, I not only learned from it but relished it—it clearly topped my parents’ experience by a long shot. (Maybe something to do with the United States almost switching to metric in the ‘70s—the whole will-they-won’t-they must have put them off.) I first learned of the scientific community’s establishment of Mole Day from my chemistry teacher, who was cool, so I decided to get in on the fun.
Thus, here I am, celebrating the mole. But what even is it? Glad you asked. A mole is a unit of measurement approximating 6.022×10 to the 23rd power—hence day 23 of month 10, between 6:02am and 6:02pm if you want to be a stickler. Also known as the Avogadro number, or constant, named for early-nineteenth-century Italian chemist Amedeo Avogadro (#scienza!!!). The thing being measured is typically particles of a chemical compound, though you can technically have a mole of anything. One mole of bananas is probably more bananas than the world can hold at once.
What I like about Mole Day is that you don’t have to do anything for it. Just remembering that it’s there is enough. You will likely never have a mole of anything, not even seconds, so simply envisioning that amount of something may lend you some comfortingly broad perspective on the smallness of individual life.
I won’t dwell on it at length; after all, I haven’t got a mole of time. But as you go about your 23 October, remember the mole. And be sure to shout out the women you know in STEM fields. My chemistry teacher came to see me and my friends in the school musical, and my physics teacher had a Let It Be-era Beatles poster in her classroom. There’s hope for public education yet.
P.S. I would like to formally acknowledge the first anniversary of Così faccio io as of this past week. Thank you all for joining me on this journey. I hope you’ve taken as much joy, comfort, and satisfaction in it as I have—though I doubt anyone has as much as I have. *wink* Here’s to a year of further growth. Dare I say…a mole of growth… (JK that would be terrifying)