# 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

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,

In which case is it easier to predict that the product is