College of Science & Mathematics
The smell of freshly popped popcorn and pizza, fresh out of the oven, and steam from the pouring of liquid nitrogen filled the Science Hall atrium; a carnival extravaganza in honor of the Italian chemist, Amedeo Avogadro’s, discovery of the constant, 6.02x10^23 as being the basis of measuring small particles. On Wednesday at 6:02 am, on 10/23, the American Chemical Society at Rowan ushered in “Mole Day.”
The ACS club members showcased several events to show their devotion to chemistry including: “pin the electron on the orbital” where students were blindfolded and were to try and place their name on the atomic shell of the atom, “ACS-ium.” “Guess the element” featured some liquid nitrogen ice cream as a prize if students could guess the element symbol before them, and a raffle in which participants guessed the amount of candy corn and M&M’s for a free t-shirt as well as the candy.
“Most people will guess 6.02x10^23,” joked Lydia Hannah, a junior Biochemistry major and the club’s treasurer, “but that would be too much candy to fit in that jar.”
An ACS member prepares more popcorn and candy give aways
A lot of the group members had been up past 1 a.m. on Wednesday, preparing for the celebration, such as junior Biochemistry major and club Vice President, Tim Kain.“It’s a chemistry thing, it gives us an excuse to be nerdy,” said Kain, “just like pi day [3.14].”
Although the holiday began at 6:02 a.m., ACS held their carnival from 11 am to 3 pm introducing students who were unfamiliar with the mole, to its usefulness and importance.
“Mole day has been around for about 20-30 years,” explained club advisor and Treasurer of the South Jersey American Chemical Society, Dr. Timothy Vaden. “In the past the ACS has done small things to get the word out, but this year the students wanted to do something bigger and they did a great job.”
This year’s Mole day different from last year’s, in that the ACS incorporated a carnival theme with the third floor of Science Hall’s pillars decorated in multi-colored streamers, windows covered in molecular drawings and balloons with mole faces lining the hallways. Also significant to the event was the free pizza, generously donated by the SJACS.
“Last year’s e-board didn’t apply for a budget and we really wanted to have this event, so Dr. Vaden asked for the support of the SJACS and they helped us get all of our pizza,” said Kain. “Dr. [Michael] Miller also helped us to get the popcorn machine as well.”
A cornerstone of the event was the liquid nitrogen ice cream made from cream, sugar and vanilla, which drew many confused glances. Trying it for the first time was Hannah. “It’s… different,” Hannah laughed, “It’s vanilla, not as thick as regular ice cream with chunks of ice from the nitrogen- it’s like a milkshake.”
Junior Biochemistry major and ACS Club President, Pallavi Chary, thought that the event was extremely successful.
“It exceeded my expectations, and I’m happy that we had support from Dr. Vaden and Dr. Miller and all of the club members,” Chary said. “The past couple Mole days were very small and we set out to change that, and we did.”
Students play pin the electron on the orbital