If only we had a mole of dollars...

Oct 23 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Today is Mole Day!  This isn't small cylindrical mammal appreciation day, it's a day to commemorate a basic unit in chemistry.  A mole is defined as the number equal to the number of carbon atoms in exactly 12 grams of pure carbon-12.  What is that number?  It's 6.02214179 x 1023 and is commonly referred to as Avogadro's Number, after the 19th century scientist Amedeo Avogadro.

If you had a mole of M&Ms, you'd have 6.02214179 x 1023 M&Ms - plenty of M&Ms to get through all 12 seasons of Murder, She Wrote.  Now, if you had a mole of dollars...

You could pay off the US national debt and not notice the difference...

1 mole of dollars: $602,214,179,000,000,000,000,000

US national debt: $19,739,152,000,000*

If you spent a billion dollars a second, it would take you over 19 million years to spend a mole of dollars.

A mole is a big number.  A big number routinely used to quantify tiny things like atoms, compounds, or molecules.  We can fit a mole of some well-known elements into petri dishes...


It looks like there are different amounts of each element present.  There are AND there are not.  Image having a mole of Dachshund and a mole of Great Danes.  You'd have ~6.02 x 1023 of each dog, but your mole of Dachshunds and your mole of Great Danes would take up different amounts of space and have different masses.

A mole is like a chemist's version of a dozen.  Now imagine if you had a mole of donuts.... nomnomnom


*An ever changing value.  Value estimated this morning at ~8:38AM CST on 24 October 2016. When this post was first written, the national date was about 2 trillion less.

Dr. Evil image is from Netbook News

Dog image from Examiner


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