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Increasing stability of atomic nuclei

I have issues with your claim that atomic nuclei get more stable if you keep piling up neutrons (in the nuclear energy part of everyday physics). Given the theoretical model of atomic nuclei that you present there, it might make it seem logical, but it's still false. As is quite evident from tables like this one: table of nuclides, nuclei tend to be most stable with approximately the same number of neutrons and protons.

Using simplified models of nuclei is fine, but you shouldn't make false claims based on it. Either just omit the question of which amount of neutrons maximizes stability, or admit that your model is simplified and doesn't always give correct answers. Brilliant.org is said to teach people to think like scientists. Stubbornly believing a theory even when it disagrees with hard facts of reality, is hardly to think like a scientist.

Note by Erik Edelmann
1 month, 3 weeks ago

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@Erik Edelmann, from the wiki you linked to, let's look at the plot of isotope half-life in the \(Z-N\) plane.

Starting near the origin, the line of stability (\(T_\frac{1}{2} > \SI{e14}{yr}\)) veers above the \(Z=N\) line. I don't know what you mean by "nuclei tend to be most stable with approximately the same number of neutrons and protons".

Above \(Z = 20\) protons, there isn't a single atom that's stable with \(N \leq Z,\) they all have \(N > Z.\)

Josh Silverman Staff - 1 month ago

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