Holy Mole-y

Happy International Year of Chemistry all y'all

Not being strictly a math & stat nerd, I also feel the need to celebrate National Mole Day, which just happens to fall on October 23rd every single year. Why October 23? Well, a mole represents a specific number of atoms or molecules in a set unit of mass; that number is known as Avogadro’s number and is approximately 6.0221415*10^23. And as you can see, October 23, or 10/23 in mm/dd format represent the base and power of Avogadro’s number.

How does one celebrate Mole Day? I celebrate by playing Sporcle‘s ‘Can You Name The Elements Of The Periodic Table‘ quiz.  How many of the elements can you name?  Thanks to practice, I can name all of them in about 7 to 8 minutes. I mentioned I’m a nerd, right?

Of course, whenever I play, I find that the last few always have me stumped. I’ll have to sit for a while trying to remember them, but usually/eventually they come to me. And every time I finish I feel just a little bit nerdier than the last.

I remember some of the elements simply because I like the sound of their names. Others I have associated with various people, places, etc. For example, I remember Dubnium (Db) and Hafnium (Hf) by thinking of George ‘Dubya’ Bush, who may or may not have been a “Haf”-wit. Samarium (Sm) comes to me by thinking about the Good Samaritan. And whenever I get stuck on Cadmium (Cd), I somehow think of a Caramilk bar and remember it. Weird? Maybe. But it works. Also, I don’t normally have to think about the first 20 or so as I was required to memorize them when I was in high school – but I always loved that the sequence of Boron (B), Carbon (C), Nitrogen (N) and Oxygen (O) always, always, always made me think of bacon.

My shiny new Sporcle results

For complete nerd disclosure, I feel that I should also mention that I find a few elements particularly awesome.  Their awesomeness is completely subjective on my part.  That is, I like them because I think they have some pretty wicked awesome sounding names.  For example:

The first three of these elements are part of the Lanthanides, while the last is part of the Actinides.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a couple of comics that I think are rather hilarious. Happy Mole Day all y’all.

Cyanide & Happiness #2334

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