What is the advantage of using isotope notation instead of hyphen notation?

1 Answer
Jul 10, 2014

Isotope notation makes it easier to calculate the numbers of electrons, protons, and neutrons and to write the products of a nuclear reaction.

If you write an element as calcium-40, you can say that it has 40 nucleons. But you can't tell how many protons, neutrons, or electrons it has.

If you write it as #""_20^40"Ca"#, you can easily calculate that it has 20 protons, 20 neutrons, and 20 electrons.

Here's a question: What is the product when a calcium-40 nucleus absorbs an alpha particle (a helium nucleus?

In hyphen notation,

calcium-40 + helium-4 → ?

In isotope notation,

#""_20^40"Ca" + _2^4"He"# → ?

In which case is it easier to predict that the product is #""_22^44"Ti"# or titanium-44?