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Atoms and Atomic Structure
Particle Physics

How do you explain how protons and electrons are similar?

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November 25, 2008 10:08PM

Though there is quite a bit of difference in the masses of these two sub-atomic particles, they both have equal electric (or electrostatic, if you prefer) fields around them, but of opposite polarity. The proton is positive and the electron is negative, and the fields of these particles exhibit a force on other electrostatically charged particles. We know that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. If we put a proton and an electron in a space and separate them by a distance d in there, they will exert a pull on each other. If we put two protons or two electrons in there at that same distance, they will push on each other with the same force that was pulling on the proton and electron in the first experiment.