by Cheryl Rofer
Traffic has been brisk all week on my last year's greeting.
I can't really add a lot to that one, except to suggest that science is part of the liberal arts, and that the chemical mole is such a basic concept that it's like knowing where the major countries of the world are located.
Chemistry is all around us. When you cook, you're doing chemistry. When you make art, you're using chemistry. Driving your car depends on the chemistry of oxidation, carefully controlled by the car's computer system. The word chemical has acquired the bad connotations that chemicals are the dreadful things that non-organic farmers add to their produce. But that produce itself is made up of chemicals: cellulose, water, sugar, and starches, along with trace chemicals like vitamins and minerals. Everything we see, smell and touch is made up of chemicals, along with the air that we breathe.
So today, 10/23, from 6:02 this morning to 6:02 this evening, think about that number: 6.02 times ten to the 23rd. That's the number of molecules in a mole, or the number of atoms in a gram-atom.