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

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 $\text{_20^40"Ca}$, 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,

$\text{_20^40"Ca" + _2^4"He}$ → ?

In which case is it easier to predict that the product is $\text{_22^44"Ti}$ or titanium-44?