magic-number

magic number

noun Physics.
the atomic number or neutron number of an exceptionally stable nuclide.

Origin:
1945–50

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World English Dictionary
magic number
 
n
1.  physics any of the numbers 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, and 126. Nuclides with these numbers of nucleons appear to have greater stability than other nuclides
2.  chem a number of atoms that is particularly stable in certain types of compound that have clusters of the same type of atom

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
magic number   (māj'ĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
Any of the numbers, 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, or 126, that represent the number of neutrons or protons in strongly bound and exceptionally stable atomic nuclei. The existence of such stable nuclei is explained by assuming a shell structure for nucleons, much like the shell structure of electron orbitals around the nucleus.
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