Atomic Number

Monday, December 26, 2011

Each chemical element (atom) contains a specific number of protons, which are located in its nucleus, and it is this number that distinguishes one type of atom from another. This number is known as the atomic number. For example, hydrogen, the simplest atom, has an atomic number of 1, corresponding to its single proton; calcium has an atomic number of 20, corresponding to its 20 protons. Since an atom is electrically neutral, the atomic number is also equal to the number of electrons in the atom.