Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Mole Day

The mole is much more than just a geeky Chemistry concept, although it is that. It is also an initiatory gateway that one must pass through. It's very much like a Zen koan. Once you "get it", well, you know for certain that you have gotten it. It might take a few (or even several) false starts. You might try to fake it, but you can't fool anyone who really knows what a mole is.

I can think back over my years of (over) educating myself and identify several other terms/concepts/phenomena that, at least for me, provided the same kind of "AHA!" experience that can accompany learning about the Great Mystery of the Mole.

In phonology there is the phoneme.

In calculus there is the limit.

In computer science there is recursion.

In marxist economics there is value (surplus, use and exchange).

In magic there is sympathy.

In unix there is the file.

In european history there is Charlemagne.

In chaos there is sensitive dependence on initial conditions.

In protein x-ray crystallography there is anomalous scattering.

1 comment:

Raima said...

So happy to see "sensitive dependence on initial conditions" ranking right up there with the mole! LOL

But, really, "file"? As one geek to another, I can see your point, though.