Happy Mole Day 2013
October 23, 2013 3:32 AM   Subscribe

Today (10-23) from 06:02am to 06:02pm chemists and other science enthusiasts around the world celebrate the mole!

(No, not that mole, that mole, or that mole ….this mole!). The mole, or Avogadro constant, is named after the early 19th century Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro and is used as a unit of measure (typically shortened to 6.02X10^23) used in many chemical reactions and other processes.

Mole Day takes something as mundane as a scientific constant and uses it show that science can have a fun side.
Each year has a different theme and celebrations include parties (you can probably guess at least one of the snacks), posters, drawings, jokes, crafts, and even songs.

Mole day is also smack in the middle of National Chemistry Week sponsored by the American chemical society….the stated goal being to build chemistry awareness outside the lab with activities, demonstrations, and lectures in schools and communities.

So kick back, enjoy ~0.23 moles of ethanol in a cold one, and celebrate science with all things mole.
posted by Captain_Science (36 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I'm just going to put this mole here because I don't think chemists should have all the fun. It's probably the most geopolitically sensitive mammal in the world.
posted by cromagnon at 4:13 AM on October 23, 2013

Hey! Lets get some Avogadros and make guaca-mole!
posted by TedW at 4:58 AM on October 23, 2013 [13 favorites]

Do scientists *all* around the world really celebrate this? Because I only know of one country that writes the date like that and (some at least) scientists outside that country do tend to roll their eyes at it.
posted by shelleycat at 4:58 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh, this has nothing to do with Blacker Hovse?
posted by Slothrup at 5:02 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have similar concerns about the date format. I would guess that international scientists would celebrate on 6th February at 10:23. Although I'm equally unsure how much actual celebration actually goes on.
posted by YAMWAK at 5:10 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have fond memories of celebrating Mole Day in my high school chemistry class. My teacher gave extra credit for mole-related crafts. I made a mole plush toy that I hope is still somewhere in my parents' attic.
posted by neushoorn at 5:12 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Why isn't it June 2nd, from 10:23am to 10:23pm?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:13 AM on October 23, 2013

Moles are one of those few things I can remember from high school chemistry, for no real reason. Here is a golden mole, which is my favorite mole.
posted by jessamyn at 5:17 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I remember moles. You think "Oh sure, I'll do chem. Mr Wossname* put all those burn marks in the lab ceiling. That'll be a lark." - the next thing you know you're doing bloody sums.

You can keep it, ta.

*Not his real name. Really.
posted by pompomtom at 5:17 AM on October 23, 2013

So kick back, enjoy ~0.23 moles of ethanol in a cold one, and celebrate science with all things mole.

I got it laid out in ten gram bags, but no, they don't want ten grams worth.

They want 0,23 moles worth, and breaking it up wasn't easy.

I don't even know what a mole's worth looks like.
posted by three blind mice at 5:21 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

A Molesworth, who as any fule kno, wrote Shakespeer.
posted by Devonian at 5:26 AM on October 23, 2013

oh that mole jokes page makes me laugh at such high frequency it hertz
posted by lalochezia at 5:43 AM on October 23, 2013

Yeah thanks for reminding me of one more chemistry and physics concept, right along with the Theory of Relativity, that I never figured out how to apply to anything else, not even my lab experiments.
posted by surplus at 5:44 AM on October 23, 2013

To get an idea of the staggering size of 6.02x10^23, xckd gets it right.

What would a mole of moles look like?


this cm-scale swag was sent out by the ACS a few years ago. m-scale is something entriely different.
posted by lalochezia at 5:52 AM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Ha! One of our wonderful Chem teachers here makes a huge to-do for Mole Day every year. We're all wearing our terrible mole-pun shirts today at work.

This year we're celebrating the AniMOLE Kingdom.
posted by absalom at 6:20 AM on October 23, 2013

True story - in 11th grade I spent six weeks or so in honors Chemistry at a large suburban high school near Boston while waiting for housing to become available on the remote South Pacific military base we were moving to. The first day I'm in Chemistry class on base the teacher asks if I'm familiar with moles.

I reply, "The furry brown critter that lives underground?"

I pretty much struggled in Chemistry all year.
posted by COD at 6:24 AM on October 23, 2013

If there's a not a naked-mole-rat day, I'm happy to share this one.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:28 AM on October 23, 2013

I can't find a youtube version of this song, but periodically it shows up in my head and I can't get rid of it.

Six point oh two two times ten to the twenty-third
You don't have to be a geek, or some kind of nerd
To know about it!

It's no mys-te-ry
Just a little chemistry
If you've got that many things
You've got a mole!

Each year in high school chemistry, the students and teachers would meet for a pancake breakfast at 6:02 am at a local diner and then return to school for a mole-pun-themed scavenger hunt. We could make mole stuffed animals for extra credit. I still have my A Clockwork Mole with one eyelash and a plastic bowler. My sister made Nat King Mole with curly hair and a suit.
posted by msbrauer at 6:40 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nice! Avogadro 4 Evah!
posted by Mister_A at 7:07 AM on October 23, 2013

Happy Mole Day! I am excited because I get to help people with chemistry today. (And yes, I get especially excited when talking about beryllium as an exception to the octet rule!)

msbrauer, the song you're thinking of is Molemorial Day by Michael Offutt. He has written a mole day theme song each year since at least 1991 (there is probably one for this year but I can't find it, perhaps because moleday.org is over capacity), and a number of the early ones are compiled on the CD Celebrate the Molennium. Go For The Mole and Ace In The Mole are probably my personal favorites of the ones that are actually about moles, although Solubility Rules is very useful if silly and Amedeo Avogadro runs through my head on a periodic basis.
posted by beryllium at 7:13 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by lalochezia at 7:19 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

on a periodic basis.

Let's agree to table the puns, okay?
posted by absalom at 7:19 AM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pun wasn't really intended at first, but I kept it! It was the best word. Though how Avogadro manages it I'm not sure since he died in 1856 and Mendeleev didn't do his table until 1869, and in general it doesn't look like periodicity was known as a thing prior to the 1860s, if Wikipedia is to be believed?
posted by beryllium at 7:29 AM on October 23, 2013

I plan to celebrate moles by using them as a basic unit of measurement all day. Woo.
posted by maryr at 7:42 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow. You guys actually do stuff on mole day (at least in schools). Certainly didn't do anything like that at my school in the UK (and I studied chemistry until I graduated).
posted by YAMWAK at 8:25 AM on October 23, 2013

But don't forget that October 23 is also the universe's birthday!
posted by fredludd at 8:58 AM on October 23, 2013

Shellycat, I'm rolling my eyes right now and I'm pretty much in the center of the country that writes its dates like that.

I used to celebrate mole day by trying to convince biologists that equilibrium was a thing and that very few binding reactions went anywhere near completion at fM concentrations. Pretty much like every other day of the year.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:11 AM on October 23, 2013

Look, Americans usually say the date as "October 23, 2013" so it makes perfect sense to write it as "10/23/13". "Le 23 octobre" makes sense to be for the French, but do the English say "the 23rd of October" more often than "October 23rd" ?
posted by maryr at 9:20 AM on October 23, 2013

From my experience, yes, the English will say '23rd of October' and not 'October 23rd'. I know this because a family member told a joke about May the Fourth and no-one got it.

I think it was my mum who trained a colleague to say the date in 'Month the Day' format over the course of a year in order to pull out that joke on the appropriate day.
posted by YAMWAK at 9:26 AM on October 23, 2013

I don't even know what a mole's worth looks like.

The greatest trick Avogadro ever pulled was to convince the world his number didn't exist.
posted by scalefree at 10:16 AM on October 23, 2013

Cool wikipedia image of a mole paw.
posted by aught at 1:50 PM on October 23, 2013

I was always say 23rd of October and would never say October 23rd, FWIW.

The page linked in the FPP itself even calls it National Mole Day. So it just seemed to me that the claim about 'scientists all over the world' was a bit inflated. I'm a non-US scientist with friends who do all kinds of science teaching and outreach and I've never heard of it, for example.
posted by shelleycat at 4:47 AM on October 24, 2013

but do the English say "the 23rd of October" more often than "October 23rd"

Why are you singling out the English? Almost everyone writes dates dd/mm/yyyy (which obviously sucks, compared to yyyymmdd).

I'd say "the 23rd of the 10th", personally, because 'October' is like a marathon of a word
posted by pompomtom at 7:22 AM on October 24, 2013

(perhaps someone here could translate my previous comment into Imperial, for our American cousins)
posted by pompomtom at 7:24 AM on October 24, 2013

I'm singling out the English since they ostensibly speak the same language as Americans but write the date differently. I'm saying that dd/mm/yy makes sense in French since that's how you say the date aloud in French, but that mm/dd/yy makes sense to me since that's how I say the date aloud.
posted by maryr at 8:31 AM on October 24, 2013

I'm not English. Although apparently I am an annoying pendant!
posted by shelleycat at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2013

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