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Are protons and electrons electrical charges? or do protons and electrons HAVE an

  1. Sep 28, 2011 #1
    ...electrical charge?

    i've read them described as both. what i want to try to understand is, is the proton and electron simply an electrical charge, nothing more?

    or, are they things in their own right, which have an electrical charge?

    to use an analogy. peter can have a cardboard sign with a plus sign written on it. he can give the sign away and still continue to exist himself. he is not an electrical charge; he HAS an electrical charge (well, a sign with a plus sign written on it).

    likewise for electrons. if eddie has a sign with a minus sign on it he can give it away and still exist; is this the case for electrons?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2011 #2
    Re: are protons and electrons electrical charges? or do protons and electrons HAVE an

    Eddie gets a new name, and we call him a neutrino.
     
  4. Sep 28, 2011 #3

    xts

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    Re: are protons and electrons electrical charges? or do protons and electrons HAVE an

    Electrons always have electric charge. But I won't tell that they are charges, as there are also other particles, distinct from electrons, having identical charge. If you say that electron is a charge, then you'd have to say that 'muon have an electron', which would be rather hard to accept.

    Eddie always wear a "-" T-shirt, but Paul and Mark also always wear identical T-shirts.

    Protons have well defined internal structure of quarks - so calling them "positive charge" would be totally wrong. You may attribute charge to quarks, but again - there are three quarks wearing "+2/3" shirts, and three wearing "-1/3".
     
  5. Sep 28, 2011 #4
    Re: are protons and electrons electrical charges? or do protons and electrons HAVE an

    Protons and electrons HAVE electrical charge. They ARE particles which HAVE electric charge.
    From what i know electrons cant give their electric charge and still exist as electrons with the same mass (particles can HAVE mass too). I think the same holds about protons.
     
  6. Sep 28, 2011 #5

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: are protons and electrons electrical charges? or do protons and electrons HAVE an

    From Wikipedia on Electric Charge: Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter.

    Per this it seems that a particle has an electric charge, either positive or negative, that is just a property of the particle. However, because protons and electrons both carry the smallest indivisible amount of charge, (IE charge is quantized) they are commonly referred to as charges. Quarks can carry 1/3 of a charge, but are not seen as individual particles, only as composite particles such as protons or neutrons, and as such we never see the 1/3 or 2/3 charge, only a 1 or a 0.
     
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