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Definition of nuclide

  1. Apr 13, 2004 #1
    definition of "nuclide"

    I apologize to all the hardened physicists out there. I have a trivial question. What is the exact definition of the term "nuclide."

    The problem is that I see it bouced around and used different ways that seem to conflict. Also, I see it being used synonymously as other words.

    The way I see it used most often makes me think that it is simply a synonym for "isotope." I also get the impression that the only difference between the two is sort of grammatical. For instance you would say "Fluorine-19 is the only known isotope of that element. It is its only nuclide."

    The only difference here is that "isotope" is followed by "of."

    Please help me. I know this sounds stupid but knowing the precise definition might help me grade some freshman chemistry exams.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2004 #2


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    Isotopes refer to varieties of a given element. Nuclides refer to anything made up of nucleons (protons or neutrons).
  4. Apr 16, 2004 #3
    Then why is the term necessary? Aren't things made of nucleons called nuclei?
  5. Apr 16, 2004 #4


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    It is somewhat of a referential difference. A nuclide is discussed by itself, while a nucleus is discussed in reference to an atom. Both terms do refer to the same things.
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