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Electron

Electron

Small atomic particle carrying the negative charge.

In a stable atom the electrons are in orbit around the nucleus and their number is equal to that of the protons (positive particles) contained in the nucleus itself.

The mass of an electron is 1/1840 with respect to that of a proton. Its negative charge, which is the smallest ever determined in nature, is taken, by convention, equal to unity.

Electrons intervene in a wide variety of physical and chemical phenomena. It is said that an object is electrically charged if its atoms have an excess of electrons (it has a negative charge) or a deficit of them (it has a positive charge).

Heat conduction is also mainly due to electronic activity. The study of electric discharges through rarefied gases in the vacuum tubes was the origin of the discovery of the electron.

The beta particles that emit some radioactive substances are electrons.


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