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They are different because to achieve maximum stability, those atoms take an electron from the 4s subshell and place it in the 3d subshell, so that they can have a full 3d subshell and half full 4s subshell (3d10 and 4s1).
I think Copper and Chromium are the exceptions we have to worry about for this class. They are different because they almost have a half-filled or filled d orbital. Having a half-filled or filled d orbital is more stable than the filled 4 s orbital and so it takes one of the 4s electrons. The electron configuration for Copper would look like this [Ar] 3d10 4s1 and Chromium like this [Ar] 3d5 4s1.
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