Why is there an atomic mass unit?

1 Answer
May 28, 2018

Answer:

Why? Because atoms have definite and measurable masses....

Explanation:

We could report atomic masses with units of grams or kilograms. And thus an #""^1H# atom has a mass of #1.67xx10^-24 *kg# or #1.67xx10^-21 *g#. This is a bit inutile given that the we have to go thru the rigmarole of exponents, and even here they are a pain to write down and format....

Historically, while the mass of an hydrogen atom could not be experimentally measured … its mass could be inferred by reference to the mass of other atoms and molecules... and historically #1*"amu"# was #1/12*"th"# the mass of the #""^12C# #"isotope.."#