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Why are electrons so much stronger than protons

  1. Oct 31, 2012 #1
    In chemistry I remember learning that electrons and protons had equal but opposite charges but also that electrons were much smaller than protons. So how is it that something so much smaller can have an equal charge?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I don't think there is an answer to that other than "we don't know". It just seems to be that way. But did you know that there are several different particles of various masses that also have an electric charge of +1 or -1? It's not just the proton and electron.
  4. Oct 31, 2012 #3
    Why not?

    Anyway, a proton isn't a single thing like an electron. Protons are made of quarks so an electron and a proton aren't 'opposite' really.

    For that, you have to look at the positron.
  5. Oct 31, 2012 #4
    Well electrons have a width of zero as far as we know. Protons are made up of quarks which carry a charge of 1/3e or 2/3e and they are also infinitely thin. We don't know why they have those charges, but the width or mass of a particle doesn't have anything to do with it as far as we know. (Actually "width of zero" would need some explanation, but I don't feel like arguing over string theory, momentum independent interactions, or measurement limits)
  6. Oct 31, 2012 #5

    You seem to think that mass and size are somehow related to charge. Where did you get that idea?

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