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Q & A: plus and minus charges

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What property of electrons makes us classify them as negatively charged and protons positively charged ?
- Sanat Deshpande (age 7)
Center Square Academy, Blue Bell, PA
A:
We have very good reason to say the electrons and protons have opposite charges. When you combine one of each, you get something with zero charge (a hydrogen atom), just like how you get zero from combining positive and negative numbers of the same size.

Why choose to call the electron negative? It's a historical accident which was called negative and which positive.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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