Friday, February 22, 2013

Avogadro's Number

There is this number in Chemistry, Avogadro's Number.  It is the number of particles found in one mole of a substance. It is the number of atoms in exactly 12 grams of carbon-12. This experimentally determined value is approximately 6.02 x 1023 particles per mole.

It is the basis of all the mass numbers on the periodic table of elements.  It is a VERY important number.  Chemistry geeks celebrate Mole day on October 23 (10/23) at 6:02.

When I graduated from college and moved to Tulsa I was given the option to pick my phone number.  I asked for 602-1023.  And I was told that I couldn't get that prefix in Tulsa.  I was so sad.  I had imagined being out somewhere and being asked for my phone number and replying "It's Avogadro's number.  Call me!" 

This is when the quest began.  Whenever I was in a different area code I would call 602-1023 to see if it was a valid number.  If it was actually a working number I would ask the person who answered if they knew they had Avogadro's Number.  I was usually met with "I have had this phone number for years and there is no one by the name of Avocado at this number!"  Whenever I would travel for work or on vacation, I would pick up the hotel phone number and dial the local area code if necessary and then 602-1023.  I was always greeted with either a non working number message or an angry person who had no idea who Avogadro was.

Until Cleveland.  I was in Cleveland for a very short stop over one day.  From the hotel I called 602-1023 and I asked the man that answered if he knew he had Avogadro's number.  He said "YES!  I am a chemist and I have had this number for years by my request!"  The man on the phone was so freaking excited that I understood what his number was that we talked and talked and talked.  He could not believe that I called the number when visiting other cities and he thought we should meet.  Oops.  Now, this is thankfully where the sensible girl won out over the super-geek.  I thanked him very much but it was very late and I was in a strange town and didn't know a soul so I would not be meeting him at a convenience store to get kidnapped and held in his basement.  Goodbye!

After that I stopped calling the number.  I don't actually know if I need to meet anyone whose brain works like mine.

This is Avogadro.  Do you have his number?

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