Hi Physics Forums! The ground state electron is the largest negative value, but what does this mean? Does this mean that kinetic energy is a positive value above zero? It seems at the ground state, the electron might also have kinetic energy as it is moving around as well as potential energy.... It seems like the scientists, when they talked about the lowest ground state, meant lowest potential energy similar to that of gravitational potential energy. I'm trying to see this in terms of kinetic energy and potential energy, especially when we excite the electron with kinetic energy. A: I think that when we excite the electron, the electron was at it's quantized potential energy, and then turns into kinetic energy, and drops back down to potential energy. I was also confused on how we measure the electron volts, or potential energy of a ground state electron?