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Ionizing & Non-Ionizing Radiation
Understanding Radiation:  

Atomic Shorthand
(Representing Atomic Properties)

Ionizing & Non-Ionizing Radiation

As scientists identified the nuclear properties of elements and found different forms of elements, they needed an easy way to write and keep track of the basic nuclear properties. They developed a 'shorthand' that combines the defining pieces of information about the various forms of an element:

The number of neutrons in the nucleus is equal to A - Z.

 X in center is the chemical symbol; Z written to lower left is number of protons; A, written to upper right is the atomic mass

(A, the atomic mass, is sometimes placed on the left above the Z.)

For example, two different forms, or Isotopes, of carbon are:

Stable Carbon atom with atomic mass of 12.
 Radioactive carbon atom with atomic mass of 14.

You will frequently see these forms of carbon referred to as  "Carbon-12" and "Carbon-14."

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