# Energy levels of carbon atom electrons

1. Feb 15, 2010

### warfreak131

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

Consider a neutral carbon atom that has six electrons orbiting the nucleus. Suppose that
five of the electrons are in their lowest states,but the sixth is in a very high state. Why
might the energy levels for the outermost electron be similar to those for the single
electron in hydrogen. (Hint: Think of what is exerting an electrical force on the outermost
electron.)

3. The attempt at a solution

The 6 protons are attracting the outermost electron. Could the answer be something like the two attractive forces, between the outermost electron and 6 protons is equal to the single proton and electron in hydrogen?

2. Feb 15, 2010

### tiny-tim

Hi warfreak131!
But wouldn't that be 6 times as much?

3. Feb 15, 2010

### warfreak131

well, no, i assume the "outermost" electron is farther away, so even if the total attractive force of the protons to the 1 electron is greater, its farther away.

like the ratio of large charge and big distance to small charge and small distance is what im getting at