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Are atoms with more protons better than the atoms with less?
Question Date: 2003-01-15
Answer 1:

This is a tough question because it's hard to say what makes one atom better than another!

The atomic number of an atom is equal to the number of protons that it contains. So for example, oxygen, which is element number 8, contains 8 protons. Uranium, which is element number 92, contains 92 protons. Because protons are positively charged, and atoms are electrically neutral, there are also an equal number of negatively charged electrons. The electrons are much lighter than the protons and so don't contribute much to the mass of an atom. In addition, atoms contain neutrons, which have the same mass as protons but are not charged - so the difference between the atomic mass and the atomic number that you can read off your periodic table tells you the number of neutrons.

To learn more about protons and the structure of atoms, there is a very good web-site:

atoms. So to answer your question - I think you have to decide this one for yourself! Take a look at the periodic table and see if you think that the heavier elements are "better" than the lighter ones! It's a tough call!

Answer 2:

I don't think we can say that one type of atom is better than another because of the number of protons it has. Many of the different elements of the periodic table are critical to life and most of the other common (and even some uncommon) elements are very useful to us for one reason or another. ow many different elements do you think you use on a day to day basis? You might be surprised at how many different elements we use and how many we need just to live.

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