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Chemistry: Introduction to isotopes and atomic structure
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Professor Harman explains isotopes and atomic mass in this lesson covering atomic structure. Most elements exist in nature as more than one isotope. Isotopes are atoms that have the same number of protons as the element but a different number of neutrons. The number of protons always remains the same, as this number (also known as the atomic number) is what determines the element. Prof. Harman also introduces atomic mass units, or amu's, which are a more convenient unit for describing the very small masses of atoms. Next, Professor Harman explains more about the masses of elements. The amu is derived from carbon 12 and is equal to 1.6605 x 10^-27. The relative atomic mass listed on the periodic table of the elements is a weighted average of the masses of the isotopes of an element. You might also observe that the mass of an isotope is less than the sum of masses of its nucleons and electrons. Professor Harman explains the relationship between mass and energy that Einstein discovered, and binding energy.
Taught by Professor Harman, this lesson was selected from a broader, comprehensive course, Chemistry. This course and others are available from Thinkwell, Inc. The full course can be found at The full course covers atoms, molecules and ions, stoichiometry, reactions in aqueous solutions, gases, thermochemistry, Modern Atomic Theory, electron configurations, periodicity, chemical bonding, molecular geometry, bonding theory, oxidation-reduction reactions, condensed phases, solution properties, kinetics, acids and bases, organic reactions, thermodynamics, nuclear chemistry, metals, nonmetals, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and more."
Dean Harman is a professor of chemistry at the University of Virginia, where he has been honored with several teaching awards. He heads Harman Research Group, which specializes in the novel organic transformations made possible by electron-rich metal centers such as Os(II), RE(I), AND W(0). He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
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