Fill in the missing mass number and atomic number for each of these particles or types of radiation.?

NetherCraft 0

Can someone please explain how to do this?

1 Answer

  • There are different formats for writing nuclear equations.

    The one I’m most familiar with uses the numbers in parentheses as below.

    The ‘numerator’ is the mass number and the ‘denominator’ is the atomic number.


    1) an alpha particle (α) is a helium nucleus, (4/2) He

    There are two protons, hence atomic number 2. There are also two neutrons, making the mass number (2 + 2) = 4 .


    2) a beta particle β is an electron, (0/-1) e

    The -1 as the atomic number is one of the (many) things where my knowledge is lacking. The mass number is 0 because an electron has tiny mass.


    3) gamma ray, symbol γ (Greek letter gamma)

    A gamma ray is essentially just energy, notated (0/0) γ


    4) a neutron is notated (1/0) n

    Atomic number is based on number of protons. A neutron isn’t a proton, so atomic number is 0 .

    A neutron has the same mass as a proton though, so mass number is 1.

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