Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun Fact Friday

This week's Fun Fact Friday is a mind blower. With the help of my father, I am going to attempt to explain something known as Avogadro's Number or 6.022x 1023 (and that is 10 to the 23rd power). If you write it out, it is 602,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 which is a really big number! But, what is it? Avogadro's Number is the number of molecules in a mole of any particular substance.

If you want to know exactly how huge this number is, consider a few examples:

The State of Texas is approximately 250,000 sq. miles in area. This is approximately 6.47 x 1017 sq. millimeters (pretty close to our example of Avagadro's Number). If it is given that each grain of salt is an exact cube and that each side of the cube is exactly 1/3 mm in length, then 1 cubic mm would be occupied by exactly 27 grains of salt.

Therefore, to cover the State of Texas with salt to a depth of 1mm would require 6.47 x1017X27 or 1.75x1019 grains of salt. One mole of salt grains equals 6.02 x 1023 grains of salt. Therefore, one mole of salt grains would cover the State of Texas to a depth of 3.44x104 mm [6.02x1023/1.75x1019] or approximately 110 ft, which is about the height of a 12 story building.

To get an idea of just how small atoms and molecules really are, this same number of water molecules (6.02 x 1023) is contained in just 18 ml of water, which is just over a tablespoon (15 ml). So, the same number of salt grains that it takes to cover the State of Texas 110 feet deep is the same number of molecules contained in 18 ml of water, meaning that a molecule of water is millions of times smaller than a grain of salt.

Second Example:

The distance to the star nearest to our sun, Alpha Centauri C, is 4.22 light years away. The distance to Alpha Centauri C is the number of miles light would travel in 4.22 years. Since light travels at about 186,000 miles per second, this distance is approximately 2.48E13 miles [24,800,000,000,000 miles or 24.8 trillion miles]

Consider John, who graduates from college at age 22 and immediately begins working with a company that requires him to fly to Thailand every Monday and back to Charlotte every Friday, giving him two weeks off each year. John is a loyal employee and does this for the next 50 years, retiring at age 72. Since the distance to Thailand is approximately 12,000 miles one way, John has accumulated approximately 60 million frequent flyer miles (60,000,000 miles) by the time he retires. (24,000 miles per week X 50 weeks per year X 50 years).

Also consider that this same company employs a total of 413,000 people who do exactly the same thing as John. This is approximately the number of people it would take to fill Williams-Brice Stadium (USC Gamecocks) plus Death Valley (Clemson Tigers) plus Bryant Denny Stadium (Alabama Crimson Tide) plus Sanford Stadium (Georgia Bulldogs) plus Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers).

If all of these people add their total miles together after 50 years of flying to and from Thailand each week for 50 weeks each year, that total will be enough miles to get one person to Alpha Centauri C. [Each of them would have to do it for another 50 years to get the person back!]

And that is approximately the same number of miles that is in Avogadro's number. WHEW!!! Is that enough to blow your mind this Friday? No? Well, then you may continue reading:

The most distant object so far identified in the universe is calculated to be 13 billion light years away or over 3 billion times as far away as Alpha Centauri.

What does all this really mean? In my opinion, it means that the same God who can create something as tiny as a molecule or atom is the same God who can create something as vast as the whole entire universe- and yet, He chooses to love me!!! Unbelieveable!

Happy Friday!!!

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