One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A stable subatomic particle occurring in all atomic nuclei, with a positive electric charge equal in magnitude to that of an electron.
- ‘Its atoms have a nucleus of two protons and two neutrons, orbited by two electrons.’
- ‘Overall, atoms are neutral and the number of protons in their nuclei equals the number of electrons.’
- ‘An alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons; it is the nucleus of a helium atom.’
- ‘The matter was composed primarily of an ionized gas of electrons, protons, and helium nuclei.’
- ‘The strong force also attracts protons to protons or neutrons to neutrons.’
The mass of the proton is 1,836 times greater than that of the electron. The atoms of each chemical element have a characteristic number of protons in the nucleus; this is known as the atomic number. The common isotope of hydrogen has a nucleus consisting of a single proton
1920s: from Greek, neuter of prōtos ‘first’.
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