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Do scientists know how many electrons an element has?

  1. Dec 26, 2003 #1


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    Do scientists know how many electrons an element has? Can someone explain why I was taught about shells of electrons in atoms?
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  3. Dec 26, 2003 #2


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    An element in its nonionized state exist primarily as its most common isotope; that is with a specific number of electrons, protons, and neutrons.

    You should review the introductory chapter on atomic orbitals; the history spanning the discovery of an electron up to the development of quantum mechanics should help you to understand the logic of shells and the importance in explaining and unifying molecular phenomenas.

    The chapter on "shells" is rather complex and in depth. It pertains to atomic bonding theory, molecular bonding theory, and thus explains the stability/instability, color, structure etc...of molecules and atoms.

    General Chemistry Homework (started as of 12/03/03)
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    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. Dec 26, 2003 #3

    Tom Mattson

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    I think this is my first post in the Chemistry Forum!

    Yes, we know how many electrons each element has. It is stated on the periodic table.

    Two electrons, by their nature, cannot be in the exact same quantum state. For that reason, they arrange themselves into shells in an atom. These shells are solutions to the Schrodinger equation (the basic equation of nonrelativistic QM).
  5. Dec 27, 2003 #4
    Re: Electrons

    The shells of electrons are very very important. Where the electrons are and in what orbit goes along way to determining the reactivity and characterisitics of the atom. Basically all of chemistry in all it's forms is mostly about what the electrons are doing in their orbitals.
  6. Dec 29, 2003 #5
    Re: I think this is my first post in the Chemistry Forum!

    not quite true, while electrons are Fermions, (Pauli exclusion principle. )

    At low temperatures, bosons CAN behave differently than fermions because an unlimited number of them can collect into the same energy state. known as condesation

    pairs of electrons on the other hand can act like bosons.... (added in the edit)

    eg superfluid liquid helium.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2003
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