physics radiation?

Which of the following statements best describes the difference between an element and an

isotope?

A) An isotope has a particular number of protons and neutrons, while an element

has a particular number of neutrons and a varying number of protons.

B) An isotope has a particular number of protons and neutrons, while an element

has a particular number of protons and can have a varying number of neutrons.

C) An element has a particular number of protons and neutrons, while an isotope

has a particular number of protons and a varying number of neutrons.

D) An element has a particular number of protons and neutrons, while an isotope

has a particular number of neutrons and a varying number of protons.

which one is correct and why

2 Answers

  • Correct answer is B

    The specific number of protons is what makes something a specific element. It doesn’t matter how many neutrons an atom has, if it has six protons, then it is a carbon atom of that element. And an isotope has specific number of neutrons too. Carbon-12 is a specific isotope. So is carbon-13 and carbon-14.

  • Choice B is correct, but doesn’t answer the question being asked. If fact, the question cannot be answered. It is like asking the difference between an apple and a fruit.

    An isotope is one particular type of atom of an element. All the atoms of an element have the same number of protons. However, they may have different numbers of neutrons, which is the same thing as saying that they may different isotopes of the same element.

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