mass number |
The total number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom. For example, nitrogen has 7 protons and 7 neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a mass number of 14. Isotopes of elements are distinguished by their mass number; for example, carbon-12 and carbon-14 have mass numbers of 12 and 14 respectively. Also called nucleon number. Compare atomic mass, atomic weight.