How is electron formed? Why does it travel?

  1. I understand that electron is made up of leptons which are made up of energy. But what I don't understand is that how can leptons be just made up of energy, I mean its not like a balloon. Another thing is that Wikipedia claims that Leptons and Quarks are the only 2 fundamental particles...but then what is neutrino made up of? What about antineutrino? I understand that this universe is made up of energy but then why is it moving?(why are the electrons spinning and rotating?) Don't tell me b/c the entropy is increasing b/c then I'll ask what caused the big bang. If like Hawkins, you say it is a cycle, then are you telling me time never began?
  2. jcsd
  3. You are making a mess.
    1) An electron is not "made up of leptons"; it's a lepton itself.
    2) Neutrino IS a lepton (and so antineutrino too).
    3) Leptons and quarks are not the only fundamental particles, unless you substitute the word "particles" with the word "fermions".
    4) Electrons doesn't spin.
    However there are many people here who knows these things better than me.
  4. If they don't spin then why do they talk about half integer and integer spin? Besides, how are electrons created? Why do they rotate around the protons? Are the fermions and Bosons the only fundamental particles then(being leptons, quarks, gluons, photons, and w and z bosons.)?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2007
  5. Are you looking for answers in terms of the symmetry properties, like U(1), SU(2), SU(3), etc? Maybe someone more equiped could give us a brief summary of how particles are supposed to be the result of symmetry properties.
  6. Hurkyl

    Hurkyl 15,987
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I believe the entymology of the term is that you have to spin an electron 720 degrees before it returns to its original position: you get half of a full rotation in a 360 degree rotation.

    They don't. They don't revolve around protons either. An electron in an atom simply sits there, occupying its entire orbital.
  7. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,534
    Gold Member

    I have never heard of this. I will defer to what I assume is your better knowledge on the subject, but my understandnig has been that, while electrons do not "orbit" the proton, they do not simply "occupy" the orbital either.

    It was my understanding that they do actually move, and that the orbital merely describes a probability of where they will likely be found when sought out.
  8. If thats the case then why don't they stick to the protons since they are attracted to it? Besides, thats what my chemistry teacher taught me. Also, how is it created? and how does it die?
  9. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,534
    Gold Member

    What? The electrons? They're neither created nor destroyed. They're fundamental particles.
  10. What about others? Protons, neutron, gluons, nuetrinos, etc. Btw, when you said destroyed, you meant naturally right? B/c they can easily be destroyed if they meet their anti.
  11. proton's coulomb potential confined the electron cloud. But the electron cloud density in the nuclues center is zero.
  12. I think the picture of electron cloud spinning around the nuclues should be physical
  13. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    No, in the ground state hydrogen atom, the electron's probability density (per unit volume) is actually maximum at the origin (the nucleus)!

    You may be thinking of the "radial probability distribution" (probability density per unit radius), which does go to zero at the origin. But this is a geometrical artifact. The radial probability distribution gives you the probability that the electron is located somewhere in a thin spherical shell of radius r and (small) thickness dr. The volume of that spherical shell decreases to zero as r decreases to zero, so the radial probability distribution does also.

    The electron doesn't "stick" to the proton because if it did, they would combine to form a neutron, emitting a neutrino in the process. But a neutron has a larger mass than a proton plus an electron, so this can't occur spontaneously; something would have to supply enough energy to create the increased mass.

    In some heavier atoms, an electron can "stick" to the nucleus, converting a proton to a neutron and emitting a neutrino, provided that the resulting nucleus has a smaller mass than the original one plus the electron. This process is called electron capture. It's one mode of radioactive decay.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  14. You ask these questions like the answer, "That's reasonable, but we simply don't know" is unacceptable. What caused the big bang? Whatever you want to pretend caused it. No on can say for sure right now.

    Did time have a start at some point? Maybe, maybe not. Is this really a problem? Not so much -- it's weird, but not really unreasonable.
  15. I am wondering about the more accepted theory. Ofcourse nothing is proven, but right now, scientific method is the most accepted way.

    Btw, you guys are getting way too advance here, I am lost. Now, in a more elementary manner, why don't the electrons stick w/ protons?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  16. CompuChip

    CompuChip 4,296
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I'm not an expert on this subject (yet), but let me try to clear things up a bit.

    No, an electron is a lepton. Lepton is a name for a whole family of particles (muons, tau particles, neutrino's, etc)

    Just as anything in our universe.

    There is nothing to understand here, it's just something fundamental. Probably, when you say energy, you have in mind the stuff that moves objects around and heats your house. In fact, energy is a fundamental quantity, which - as far as I know - cannot be defined. We just divide energy that we see up in different forms (kinetic energy, chemical energy, mass, temperature, etc) though all of these are really the same thing.

    I don't see the connection between those statements. Why would the universe being made up of energy exclude it from moving? Do you mean: why is part of the energy that makes up the universe in a form that we call kinetic energy?

    Electrons are kept near atomic nuclei because of nuclear forces (mainly, Coulomb interaction). It's common to picture an electron as revolving around the nucleus in an orbit, just as a planet revolves around the sun. But in reality, we cannot pin-point the exact location on a given moment in time. We can just (by quantum mechanics) calculate the probability that we will find it in that-and-that area. Likewise, the name spin is confusing -- it refers to a property of (among others) electrons which has certain similarities to the classical spin of for example a ball or a top (in fact, it is similar to the orbital rotation, but it's an intrinsic property, like classical spin - hence the name I think). But the name is also a bit misleading, as the object does not really spin around an axis (in fact, we can look at an electron as a wave, rather than a solid "ball").

    So, in both cases, nothing really "spins", it's just an attempt to link some strange, quantum-mechanical properties to familiar concepts, which gives us some grasp on the ideas, but one cannot extend the analogy too far.

    You mean, if a proton is positive and an electron is negative, why don't they attract and collide? I think there is no answer without involving quantum mechanics again (sorry about all the QM, but on this scale, that's just the theory you need to accurately describe nature), but perhaps this link will give you some reading.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  17. "Do you mean: why is part of the energy that makes up the universe in a form that we call kinetic energy?"

    Yes! and thanks for the other answers you and other folks.

    One more thing, I understand that all protons and Neutrons are collected together by Strong Nuclear Force and you told me that Electron are attracted to Protons due to weak nucleus force(so charge is basically weak nucleus force). Then how is one atom attracted to other?(gravity? What is the source of it?) How is one molecule attracted to another?(what I mean is that whenever 2 compounds meet, why do they start chemical reactions instead of repulsing each other?(I took AP Chem but trying to keep up my grade was a greater priority for me then understanding it)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  18. Excepting in those few rare cases of pair productions and annihilations.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  19. Please?
  20. Electrons are attracted to protons because of Coulomb force.
    This is more complicated to answer. First, interatomic forces are different from the intermolecular ones, and in this last case there are more kinds.

    a. Interatomic forces. Let's make a simple example: two hydrogen atoms (covalent bond, in this case). Even in this case the answer is not simple; simplyfing a lot, we can say one reason is the fact the electron of atom A is attracted to the proton of atom B too, and the same between electron of B and proton of A. All this however holds true in a specific range of distances, because in other ranges it's electronic repulsion (*) (simplifying again) to prevail on the first effect.

    b. Intermolecular forces. As I said there are many kinds. However we can say that the main cases involve, at the end, electrostatic or electrodynamics forces, so, no gravity (in the sense that gravity do act, but with enormously lower intensity, so that it's never considered in these cases).

    Some kinds of intermolecular bonds:

    1. Van Der Waals bond. It's present in many cases, even together with other kinds of bond. It's present, e.g., in molecules with no net dipole moment or in big molecules. It's the reason of molecular hydrogen condensed states, for example.
    2. Ionic bond. Is the case of common salt, NaCl. The crystal is made of Na+ and Cl- ions, which attracts one to another; a Na+ ion attracts more than one Cl- ions and the other way round, so you have an entire macroscopic structure, instead of single, detached molecules.
    3. Covalent bond. It's the same as the bond between two hydrogen atoms in molecular hydrogen, but in this case the bond is extended to all atoms. One example is sylica, another is diamond.
    4. Dipole-dipole interactions. Example: forces between HCl molecules. (HCl molecule has a separation of charges so a net dipole moment; two dipoles can attract one another).
    5. Ionic - dipole interactions. Example: Ions hydratation.
    6. Hydrogen bond. It's a kind of half-way between 4. and 5. Typical of water molecules e.g.
    7. Metallic bond. Semplyfing: it's kind of the case of H-H bond, but involving a huge number of electrons and nuclei all together

    In 2., 3. and 7. cases, molecules cannot be distinguished, so they actually cannot be called intermolecular bonds. I put them in that group just because they involve many atoms at the same time.

    (*) or nuclei repulsion.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2007
  21. But shouldn't the atoms be repelled from each other due to electron repulsion?
    So at what level gravity force comes into effect?
    How is Coulomb's force created?(I understand they exist between charges but why?)
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?