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However, oxygen atoms can have between 8 and 10 neutrons in the nucleus and therefore the isotopes of oxygen have atomic masses of 16, 17, and 18 a.m.u.(and none are radioactive! Samarium (Sm) has 7 naturally occurring isotopes (3 are radioactive).

Remind them that geologists only use certain radioactive isotopes to date rocks.

The atoms that are involved in radioactive decay are called isotopes.

In reality, every atom is an isotope of one element or another.

The only way that this can happen is by changing the number of protons in the nucleus (an element is defined by its number of protons).