October 23rd celebrates Mole Day from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm – a day to commemorate Avogadro’s Number, 6.02 x 1023, which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created to build more interest in chemistry for school aged kids in the classroom.
This annual event usually falls during National Chemistry Week, which brings together American Chemical Society local sections, businesses, schools, and individuals to show the importance of chemistry in everyday life for students and adults.
For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the molar mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an molar mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. Similarly, a mole of neon has a molar mass of 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s Number of molecules or atoms of that substance.
Amedeo Avogadro is best known for his hypothesis that equal volumes of different gases contain an equal number of molecules, provided they are at the same temperature and pressure. This hypothesis was rejected by almost the entire science community at the time. Only after his death was his idea accepted and now called Avogadro’s law. Avogadro was also the first scientist to realize that elements could exist in the form of molecules rather than as individual atoms.
Mole Day was first mentioned in an article in The Science Teacher in the 1980s and was formed even further by Maurice Oehler, a now retired high school chemistry teacher from Wisconsin. From there Oehler founded the National Mole Day Foundation in 1991.
High schools around the world in the United States, South Africa, Australia, and Canada take 10/23 to celebrate Mole Day as a way to get their students interested in chemistry through fun activities and lessons!
Did you have a fun Mole Day activity on October 23rd? Share it with us! We would love to send your science class some fun items to continue the excitement of chemistry!