The Atom and Nuclear Chemistry
An atom consists of a nucleus surrounded by one or more electrons. Although the number of protons identifies the element, the electrons are the key to the chemistry. The arrangement of electrons in an atom influences the atom’s ability to gain, lose, or share electrons and therefore form compounds. Quantum numbers describe the arrangement of the electrons. Unstable atoms undergo nuclear decay to transform to stable atoms. Atoms may be broken apart by fission or joined by fusion.
The Problems You’ll Work On
In this chapter, you work with atoms and nuclear chemistry in the following ways:
Counting subatomic particles
Interpreting isotope notation
Writing electron configurations
Calculating average atomic mass and percent abundance
Understanding nuclear decay and balancing nuclear equations
Note: For access to the periodic table, see the Appendix.
What to Watch Out For
Remember the following when working on atoms and nuclear chemistry:
Note that ...