There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| Splitting more than hairs|
Nuclide is a "type of atom": a collection of all atoms that have the same number of protons and neutrons in their nuclei, for example, 19F. Nuclear properties, such as neutron absorption cross-section, half-life of decay, nuclear spin, and atomic mass, are unique for each nuclide. Chemical properties depend only on the number of protons. A group of nuclides with the same number of protons is called an element.
"Nuclide" is probably what most people mean when they say "isotope," which is something different. Two nuclides are isotopes if they have the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons. This is equivalent to stating that they belong to the same element, so it is possible to say, for example, "isotope of carbon." The big difference is that the word "isotope" expresses a relation between nuclides, so using it alone is not strictly correct: "decay of radioactive isotopes" should actually be "decay of radioactive nuclides."