Is the question in a correct form? I can't add anything as a comment.


closed as off-topic by andselisk May 17 at 19:56

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The electrons are responsible for the actual chemistry happening around an atom, however the number of electrons in an atom is determined by the charge of the nucleus, i.e. by the protons. The protons are not really participating in the reactions, but they are the ones who compensate the charge of the electrons, therefore they are important to determine the energy levels of the free atom.

As an illustration, you can take helium $(\ce{He})$ and a hydride ion $(\ce{H-}).$ Both have 2 electrons on an 1s, however the $\ce{He}$ is neutral, while the nucleus of $\ce{H}$ is compensating only for one charge. This result in totally different energy levels and stability, different affinity for oxidation or other chemical reactions.

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    $\begingroup$ Of course then there is the whole 'nuclear chemistry' thing, but I always found that label to cause more confusion than insight! $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Aug 6 '14 at 21:14

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