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A Different Kind of CSI: Crime and Stable Isotopes


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Great article-very interesting and informative. There is however an error that I would like to see corrected. The articles states "its atomic mass (the number of protons plus neutrons)". The number of protons plus neutrons is the 'mass number'; the mass of a single atom express in atomic mass units is the 'atomic mass'; the average of the atomic masses of the naturally occurring isotopes of an element is the 'average atomic mass' or the 'atomic weight'. The distinction between mass number, atomic mass, and atomic weight has tripped up many chemistry students.
posted by Jim Mehls
January 5, 2013 @ 6:50 PM

 

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