It's mole day! At 6:02, tip your hat to Avogadro's constant

At 6:02 on 10/23, we pay tribute to the beloved SI unit commonly used in pesky chemistry class conversions. Today is mole day, and I'm not talking about the 12-fingered mammal or the Mexican sauce or the beauty mark above Cindy Crawford's lip. I'm talking about 6.022 × 1023, the standard measurement for particles also called "Avogadro's Number."

I pledge allegiance to the mole, and to the science from which it comes, one SI unit, extremely divisible, with micromoles and millimoles for all.

R. Thomas Myers, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

According to NPR, a Wisconsin science teacher started the holiday, and some chemistry educators use it as an excuse to eat mole-themed food like "e-mole-ade, guaca-mole sauce with chips. Some pie a la mole, mole-caroni, and ani-mole crackers."

If you're rusty on your gen chem knowledge, think of "mole" like you think of "dozen." You say "dozen" when you mean 12 eggs, and chemists say "mole" when they mean 602,214,076,000,000,000,000,000 particles. That way, they don't have to deal with massive numbers and can more easily convey ratios. The value of Avogadro's Number isn't random— it's the number of atoms in 12 grams of the isotope carbon-12.