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Complete noob , got many questions

  1. Aug 4, 2008 #1
    Hello guys , am a new to high school physics and chemistry.
    I have several questions about electric current , atoms etc. :confused:

    Okay so here it goes..:tongue:

    1. What is electric potential and potential difference in simple language ?
    I heard that there are charges in metals and conductors.
    2. What makes these charges flow when connected to a battery ?
    3. What is electromotive force ?

    It is said that Proton has a positive charge , Electron has a negative charge. Neutron has no charge.
    4. Is it true that proton + electron = neutron considering +1-1=0 ?
    5. What does an "unstable nuclei" mean ?
    I heard that only unstable elements
    are radioactive. Is it true ? If yes , how ?
    During a beta decay , a neutron converts itself into a proton and an electron ,
    and the electron is used for the beta ray and the proton gets added to the
    nucleus. I heard that even after beta decay , the no. of neutrons remain the
    same as before beta decay.
    6. Is this true ? If yes , from where did the extra neutron
    which converted itself to proton and electron come from ?
    And how does a neutron convert itself into a proton and an electron ?

    Please make your language as simple as possible as am new to it.
    I have many more questions in mind . I have alot of interest in these subjects , but it is
    that am just new to it. Please help me , am looking for answers.

    Thanks. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2008 #2


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    Ok, anybody here feels called to write an intro physics book of 300 pages ? :-)

    Seriously, we can't write out a complete intro physics course for you. There is excellent material out there ; the best is just to buy a book and read it, but there are a lot of free resources too.

    Best thing is to read up some material, and if there are specific questions, come here and ask.
  4. Aug 4, 2008 #3


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    That said, I'll give it a try, but don't expect a course.

    Ha. The only thing that matters is potential difference, and the potential difference divided by the distance gives you the electric field. The electric field is a measure of the force by which charges get pulled along.

    You heard right.

    The potential difference, which gives you an electric field, which "pulls" on the charges.

    It is the force, the pull, by an electric (or a magnetic) field on a charge.


    No. A neutron is not a combination of a proton and an electron.

    Unstable means, not stable, means, will change. Radioactive nucleae are nucleae that change and in doing so, emit radiation and particles.

    Nope. During beta decay, a neutron converts itself into a proton, an electron and an anti-neutrino. The number of neutrons in the nucleus has decreased by one, and the number of protons has increased by 1, but the number of protons AND neutrons together didn't change.

    As it wasn't true, don't bother. The neutron can convert into a proton, an electron and an anti-neutrino due to an interaction which is called the weak force.
  5. Aug 4, 2008 #4
    Vanesch answered all 6 points well, so I'll just recommend some further reading along the lines of electromagnetic and nuclear physics. It's a big book, and has some more advanced concepts, but if you have more questions you want answering I would recommend Schaum's Outline of College Physics. That, or any other physics textbook should provide the answers to any more questions you have on these topics.

  6. Aug 7, 2008 #5
    Thanks , i'll read the books first then. :smile:
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