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Hi, I was wondering why there are multiple ways of writing electron configurations? For example, why do we write the configuration for a magnesium atom as 1s^2 2s^2 2p^6 3s^2, as well as [Ne] 3s^2? What significance does the shorter version have compared to the longer version? Thank you in advance!
Using the electron configuration of another element in brackets and then containing the configuration is just a shorthand way of writing the entire thing out. I don't think there's any particular reason other than that it is shorter, but I might be wrong.
Just like Sandra said, there may not be any particular reason for writing the electron configuration shorter. We may be asked to write them out both ways, using the original element, or using its noble gas. We use the noble gas from the previous row the actual element is on when using the short version.
To add on, the reason the noble gas from the previous row is used is because that element satisfies the configuration of all the electrons in the lower energy states. In other words, the configuration of the element you are working with will be the same up to that noble gas. After that, you drop down a row on the periodic table and the next state is reached.
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