# Are oxygen atoms different from the atoms of other elements?

An oxygen atom possesses 8 protons, 8 massive, positively charged nuclear particles. There are also 8 massive, neutrally charged nuclear particles, 8 neutrons in the common isotope, ""^16O. And orbiting the nuclear core, there are 8 electrons, fundamental particles with negligible mass that each possess a formal negative charge.
Any atom with 8 protons is automatically an oxygen atom by defintion. 7 protons specifies a nitrogen atom; 9 protons specifies a fluorine atom. Of course, oxygen generally takes the form of the dioxygen molecule, ${O}_{2}$. The number of protons gives $Z$, the atomic number, which is different for each element.