By Tejas Chakrabarti,

When a person talks about a mole, one would often think that they must be referring to the small, furry, bush animal, that is mostly an insectivore, and often destroys gardens. Well, if one were to ask this same question to a chemist, they would get the shock of their life.

You see, a mole, from a scientific viewpoint, is the unit used to depict the amount of a particular item. It was discovered by Avogadro, an Italian physicist, who proposed in 1811, that, the mole of two gases, of equal volumes, compressed to the same pressure, and kept at the same temperature, would contain the same amount of molecules. This constant was later known as the Avogadro constant, and is equal to 6.02* 10^23, or simply Six hundred and two, followed by twenty zeroes. This number is highly important when it comes to exactly calculating the amount of molecules present in gases. During Avogadro’s lifetime, this theory was constantly disapproved and so, only after his lifetime, was it proven by other physicists, and thus becoming one of the most important discoveries in Physics. This number is now known as Avogadro’s constant. The short form of this number is known as mol.

In 1909 the French physicist Jean Perrin, decided to name the number Avogadro’s constant in order to honour the Italian’s memory. The first atomic mass table was published in the year 1805. Further studies into this topic until the year 1960 finally were able to prove that Avogadro had been true all his life, therefore almost changing the way we see the world. The mole unit is now a part of the SI units (System International units), and it still does receive heavy criticism, with many people saying that a unit is not required in order to depict a single number.


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