Know Nuclear


We all know science is all around us. But what does nuclear have to do with that? For those who have been out of school for awhile – Welcome back to the basics. For the new students – Welcome to Nuclear 101.

Nuclear Basicsmass_number

Atoms are made up of  protons and neutrons, collectively called nucleons, surrounded by electrons.

Things you need to know:

The symbol $_Z^A {\rm{X}}$is used for the nucleus of an element that has the chemical symbol X, a mass number A, and atomic number Z.


The symbol $_Z^A {\rm{X}}$ is used for a particular isotope. If A = 14 and Z = 6,

  • How many protons does the isotope have in its nucleus?
  • How many neutrons does the isotope have in its nucleus?
  • What is the element X?

  • The atomic number Z = 6 so the isotope has 6 protons in its nucleus.
  • The number of neutrons in the nucleus of the isotope is A-Z = 14-6 = 8.
  • The element that has an atomic number 6 is carbon.

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