The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

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The science of nuclear energy

1.1.3 Structure of atoms

Test what you’ve learned about atoms so far in this short quiz.

Activity 1

Which of the following sentences describes a proton?

a. 

This particle has no charge and exists in the nucleus


b. 

This particle has a positive charge and exists in the nucleus


c. 

This particle is in orbit around the nucleus


d. 

This particle has a negative charge


The correct answer is b.

b. 

Yes! The proton is positively charged. The nucleus is made up of positively charged protons and neutral neutrons.


Use Table 2 to work out which of the following particles make up an atom of carbon-13.

Table 2

Atomic number ZMass number AIsotope nameIsotope symbol
11hydrogensub one super oneH
12deuteriumsub one squaredH
23helium-3sub two cubedHe
24helium-4sub two super fourHe
37lithium-7sub three super sevenLi
47beryllium-7 (unstable)sub four super sevenBe
48beryllium-8 (unstable)sub four super eightBe
49beryllium-9sub four super nineBe
511boron-11sub five super 11B
612carbon-12sub six super 12C
613carbon-13sub six super 13C
614carbon-14 (unstable)sub six super 14C
714nitrogen-14sub seven super 14N
816oxygen-16sub eight super 16O

a. 

6 electrons, 6 protons, 6 neutrons


b. 

6 electrons, 7 protons, 6 neutrons


c. 

6 electrons, 6 protons, 7 neutrons


d. 

7 electrons, 7 protons, 6 neutrons


The correct answer is c.

c. 

Well done! The number of protons and neutrons add up to 13 to make carbon-13.

Take a look at Isotopes.


Using Table 3, what is the difference between an atom of beryllium-8 and beryllium-9?

Table 3

Atomic number ZMass number AIsotope nameIsotope symbol
11hydrogensub one super oneH
12deuteriumsub one squaredH
23helium-3sub two cubedHe
24helium-4sub two super fourHe
37lithium-7sub three super sevenLi
47beryllium-7 (unstable)sub four super sevenBe
48beryllium-8 (unstable)sub four super eightBe
49beryllium-9sub four super nineBe
511boron-11sub five super 11B
612carbon-12sub six super 12C
613carbon-13sub six super 13C
614carbon-14 (unstable)sub six super 14C
714nitrogen-14sub seven super 14N
816oxygen-16sub eight super 16O

a. 

They are different isotopes of beryllium


b. 

They have different numbers of protons


c. 

They have the same number of neutrons


d. 

They have different atomic numbers


The correct answer is a.

a. 

Yes, the different numbers indicate they are different isotopes of beryllium.

Take a look at Isotopes.


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