‘Magic number’ 34

Guest post by Gabriel Popkin

Physicists may have found a new “magic number” — a quantity of protons or neutrons that gives an atomic nucleus unusual stability.

The most common magic numbers are two, eight, 20, 28, 50, 82 and 126; these total numbers of protons and neutrons typically complete “shells” that are similar to the electron shells of chemical elements. But new research published October 10 in Nature shows that 34, not 28, neutrons may fill a shell in the nucleus of calcium-54, a radioactive variant, or isotope, of c...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/‘magic-number’-34