Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305389892

Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305389892


Chapter 2.2, Problem 2SB
Textbook Problem

The isotopes carbon-11 and oxygen-15 do not occur in nature, but they can be made in the laboratory. Both are used in medical imaging procedure called positron emission tomography. How many protons and neutrons are in carbon-11 and in oxygen-15?

Expert Solution
Summary Introduction

To review:

The number of protons and neutrons in carbon-11 and oxygen-15.


Atoms are the smallest particles capable of independent existence. These consist of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are present in the nucleus, while electrons are present around the nucleus in shells. An atom has two specific constants, namely atomic number and mass number. Atomic number is the number of protons or electrons present in an atom. It is the same for all the atoms of an element. Mass number of an atom is the sum of its protons and neutrons.

Explanation of Solution

The mass number may be different for atoms of the same element because of the difference in the number of neutrons. Such atoms are called isotopes. The number of neutrons can be calculated via subtracting atomic number from mass number. Atomic number is represented as a subscript on the symbol, while mass number as superscript, but, sometimes, mass number is also written after putting hyphen against the name of the atom.

Therefore, the number of protons and neutrons in carbon-11 and oxygen-15 can be calculated as follows:

Number of neutrons in carbon-11=Mass number-Atomic numberNumber of neutrons in carbon-11=11-6 

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