Tuesday, October 20, 2009
How Will You Celebrate Mole Day?
This morning I saw where Friday
is National Mole Day.
"Hey! It's National Mole Day!"
I exclaimed to my family.
They curled their lips
and rolled their eyes
and asked the loaded question.
"Just what is Mole Day?"
"Well, I'm not sure myself,
but I have a few pretty good
ideas", I said, trying to sound
not only super intelligent,
but also interesting.
"This celebration might refer
to skin moles- which are simply
caused by a collection of cells
called melanocytes." I told them
in my genius tone of voice.
"Melanocytes are part of skin
pigmentation, but sometimes
they occur in clusters, which forms a mole."
They stared at me in wonderment-
(Or concern. I don't know which.)
"So, I would take a guess that Mole Day
is probably celebrated by dermatologists.
They probably give free screenings
and laser removal and sell tons of
sunscreen and stuff," I declared.
"Of course..." I pondered, "It could very well
be a holiday for that little blind mole
that borrows in the ground . Also
known as a mole rat.
There are eight species of moles
and they weigh around 100 to 570 grams.
In reality, these creatures are not
rodents at all. They belong to a group
of mammals known as insectivora.
Thus, closely related to the shrew,"
I smiled smugly.
About that time my husband
tapped a few keys on the
computer and shouted,
"Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
National Mole Day doesn't
have to do with a skin mole or a
ground mole at all!
I slanted my eyes
and looked at him angrily.
He was stealing my thunder.
"It says here:
Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.
For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. An atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20, therefore one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro's Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. This relationship was first discovered by Amadeo Avogadro (1776-1858) and he received credit for this after his death."
The room was silent for a moment.
And then I said-
"That was my third guess."