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From left to right, the isotopes are protium ( Isotopes are variants of a particular chemical element which differ in neutron number.

The fact that each isotope has one proton makes them all variants of hydrogen: the identity of the isotope is given by the number of neutrons.

For example, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14 are three isotopes of the element carbon with mass numbers 12, 13 and 14 respectively.

The atomic number of carbon is 6, which means that every carbon atom has 6 protons, so that the neutron numbers of these isotopes are 6, 7 and 8 respectively.

A nuclide is a species of an atom with a specific number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus, for example carbon-13 with 6 protons and 7 neutrons.

The nuclide concept (referring to individual nuclear species) emphasizes nuclear properties over chemical properties, whereas the isotope concept (grouping all atoms of each element) emphasizes chemical over nuclear.

However, in the cases of three elements (tellurium, indium, and rhenium) the most abundant isotope found in nature is actually one (or two) extremely long-lived radioisotope(s) of the element, despite these elements having one or more stable isotopes.

Theory predicts that many apparently "stable" isotopes/nuclides are radioactive, with extremely long half-lives (discounting the possibility of proton decay, which would make all nuclides ultimately unstable).

The number of nucleons (both protons and neutrons) in the nucleus is the atom's mass number, and each isotope of a given element has a different mass number.Of the 253 nuclides never observed to decay, only 90 of these (all from the first 40 elements) are theoretically stable to all known forms of decay.Element 41 (niobium) is theoretically unstable via spontaneous fission, but this has never been detected.Soddy recognized that emission of an alpha particle followed by two beta particles led to the formation of an element chemically identical to the initial element but with a mass four units lighter and with different radioactive properties.Soddy proposed that several types of atoms (differing in radioactive properties) could occupy the same place in the table.An isotope and/or nuclide is specified by the name of the particular element (this indicates the atomic number) followed by a hyphen and the mass number (e.g.


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