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Homework Help: Four quantum numbers problem

  1. Oct 26, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Give a possible set of values of the four quantum numbers for all the electrons in boron atom and a nitrogen atom if each is in the ground state.

    I know the principles behind this. It comes from Zumdahl's Chemistry textbook (ninth edition, p. 345, number 95). The solutions manual however lists 5 examples for boron and 7 for nitrogen.

    However, doesn't this question ask for only ONE possible set of values?

    Shouldn't writing n=0 l=0 ml=0 ms=+1/2 for both boron and nitrogen enough to get the answer right?

    I'm a second language speaker! Why do they say "all the electrons"? What are they asking for?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    It asks for "a" possible set of values - since there is more than one possible set, there is more than one possible correct answer. Therefore the solutions manual has to list them all.

    However ... this is not the case for this problem.
    Reading carefully you see it wants the set of values for all the electrons ... how many electrons does Boron have? How many does Nitrogen have? Therefore - how many values must be in each set?
  4. Oct 26, 2013 #3
    Hmm. If I give a possible set of values for each electron in each atom, my answer would be :
    BORON: 1s22s22p1
    n 1 1 2 2 2
    l 0 0 0 0 1
    ml 0 0 0 0 -1
    ms +1/2 -1/2 +1/2 -1/2 +1/2

    NITROGEN: 1s22s22p3
    n 1 1 2 2 2 2 2
    l 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
    ml 0 0 0 0 -1 0 +1
    ms +1/2 -1/2 +1/2 -1/2 +1/2 +1/2 +1/2

    Would this answer be the most concise and thorough answer?
  5. Oct 26, 2013 #4
    Sorry, it seems the forum does not accept long spaces. My tables are therefore not aligned.
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