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Biology (Chapter 2)

Biology (Chapter 2)

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Published by Dylan Roscover

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Published by: Dylan Roscover on Jun 30, 2007
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Dylan RoscoverBiology STS 1st hour2006 10 01Chapter 21.atom –
 
The smallest unit of matter that still retains the properties of an element.They are very small and cannot be seen through the naked eye, let alone modernmicroscopes.compound – A substance consisting of two or more elements combined in afixed ratio. Table Salt is a good example of a compound.element – A substance that cannot be broken down to other substances bychemical reactions. There are 92 total elements that we know of today. Some examplesinclude gold, copper, carbon, and oxygen.matter – Anything that takes up space and has mass, not weight. It exists invarious forms, with various characteristics.Trace elements are those required by an organism in only small quantities. Anexamples of this would be iron. The four primary elements are essential to life, andinclude Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon and Hydrogen. There are, in total, 25 "essential tolife" elements, including the four primary elements. Naturally occurring elements arethose found in nature (not in the lab), and there are 92 of them in total.3. An isotope is a certain form of a certain element. Carbon, for example, has threedifferent isotopes. The most common is carbon-12, which has 6 neutrons. There is alsocarbon-13 and carbon-14, with 7 and 8 neutrons, respectively. Only the neutron numbervaries in an element's isotope, electrons and protons stay the same, otherwise theywould be different elements. A radioactive isotope is one in which the nucleus decaysspontaneously (at once... heh), giving off particles and energy (lots of). When this decayleads to a change in the number of protons, this element becomes a different one. Thepositive applications for this are of course for biologists to measure the dates of past lifeand trace atomic metabolism, though radioactivity, as we all know, does pose a gravehazard to life by damaging cellular molecules. heh5. An atom with a completed valence shell (aka, 8 valence electrons, 0 valence) ischemically un-reactive. It will not interact readily with other atoms it encounters. Someelements, such as helium, neon, and argon, have full valence shells. They don't react. Atleast, not usually. Hence the term, "inert." However, other elements, like carbon andoxygen, don't have full valence shells, so they react often with other elements. Carbonand hydrogen, for example, will form compounds readily (water) because they are

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