# What is a radioactive isotope? What are two scientific uses of radioactive isotopes?

##### 1 Answer
Oct 2, 2016

A radioactive isotope is a form of an atom that has an unstable nucleus

#### Explanation:

An example of this is Carbon 14 ${C}_{6}^{14}$

This form of Carbon has an unstable nucleus. The nucleus has six protons ${p}_{1}^{+} 1$ and eight neutrons ${n}_{1}^{0}$

There are more neutrons that what are needed to stabilize the protons in the nucleus. One of the neutrons gives up an electron that was held inside the neutron emitting the electron as a beta particle. ${e}_{0}^{-} 1$.

The result is Carbon 14 ${C}_{6}^{14}$ becomes Nitrogen 14 ${N}_{7}^{14}$

Carbon 14 is used in dating recent fossils less than 50,000 years old fairly accurately.

Uranium 235 ${U}_{92}^{235}$ being unusable is used in nuclear reactors and atomic bombs for energy.