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Question Video: Recognize That Only Nuclei with Different Numbers of Neutral Particles Can Be Different Isotopes Science

The figure shows the nuclei of two atoms. Are the atoms of the same isotope of an element or of different isotopes of that element?

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Video Transcript

The following figure shows the nuclei of two atoms. Are the atoms of the same isotope of an element or of different isotopes of that element?

Recall that one element an atom is an atom of depends on how many protons are contained in the atom’s nucleus. Recall also that different isotopes of the same element contain different numbers of neutrons.

For the nuclei shown, a proton is represented by a pink circle containing a plus symbol, and a neutron is represented by a green circle. We observe that each nucleus contains a single proton. As both of the nuclei shown contain the same number of protons, both of the nuclei shown must be of the same element, in this case the element hydrogen.

We see though that the nuclei contain different numbers of neutrons to each other. This shows that these nuclei are of different isotopes. So the correct answer is that the atoms shown are atoms of different isotopes of the same element.

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