When scientists look at these examples, what do they know about the atoms?

Carbon-12
Carbon-14

1 Answer
Nov 19, 2016

Answer:

Well, you've got two different carbon isotopes.

Explanation:

For both isotopes, #""^12C#, and #""^14C#, there are 6 protons, 6 positively charged, massive nuclear particles; this number of protons is what determines the identity of the isotope as carbon. In the #""^12C# isotope, there are 6 neutrons, 6 neutrally charged, massive nuclear particles; whereas there are necessarily 8 neutrons in the #""^14C# isotope. Capisce?

How many electrons are there whizzing about the nucleus in each isotope? How do you know?