# A lithium atom has positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. The sum of the charges represents the charge of the lithium atom. How do you find the charge of the atom?

For the lithium atom, $Z = 3$; there are 3 positive, nuclear charges. There are 3 extra-nuclear electronic charges, i.e. borne by the 3 electrons, in the neutral atom. Lithium generally loses one electron to form the $L {i}^{+}$ cation.