Explanation of Isotopes

The number of neutrons in an atom's nucleus is less fixed than the number of protons: many elements have different versions, called isotopes, with different numbers of neutrons. For example, there are three isotopes of carbon, called Carbon-12, Carbon-13 and Carbon-14. The numbers refer to the mass of the atom, which is the sum of the protons and neutrons. Each of the three has six protons. Carbon-12 has six neutrons. Carbon-13 has seven neutrons and Carbon-14 has eight neutrons. Some isotopes, for example Carbon-14, are radioactive, which means they change into other elements at a predictable rate, although at unpredictable moments. Scientists can use this feature to help them calculate the age of fossils. Carbon-14 is used to date things younger than most fossils. for example ancient wooden ships.


The different types of carbon have different numbers of neutrons and therefore different masses.

Folksonomies: atoms carbon isotopes

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Chemical element (0.945429): dbpedia | freebase
Neutron (0.857825): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
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Carbon (0.805995): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Carbon-14 (0.785920): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Isotope (0.741715): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Carbon-12 (0.697591): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 The Magic of Reality
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dawkins, Richard (2011-10-04), The Magic of Reality, Simon and Schuster, Retrieved on 2012-01-01
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: science wonder adolescent