Basic Proton Facts You Should Know Before You Become A Chemist

Martha Martins
Jan 23, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Mar 08, 2022
Discover amazing proton facts here.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Protons are one of the three main particles found inside the nucleus of an atom.

Protons are positively charged particles. The mass of one proton is 58.907516 oz (1.67×10−27 kg).

The whole mass of the atom is located in its center. This encompasses the nucleus. The nucleus has both protons and neutrons. These are collectively referred to as nucleons. Outside the nucleus, there are electrons which are negatively charged particles and revolve in circular orbits.

The number of protons in an atom is equal to the number of electrons. Electrons carry a negative electrical charge whereas neutrons do not have any charge. In a single hydrogen atom, an electron revolves around a single particle proton.

If you like reading about protons and its characteristics, keep on reading this article.

Discovery Of The Proton

In 1909, in his very famous gold foil experiment, British-New Zealand physicist, Rutherford, discovered the proton. An ultrathin gold foil was bombarded by the alpha particle. The scattered particles were detected on the zinc sulfide screen.

In this experiment, it was seen that most of the alpha particles passed through the foil, some were deflected and very few particles bounced back.

So, it was concluded that positive particles were located inside the center of the atom that was referred to as the nucleus. These positively charged subatomic particles were given the name protons. Outside the nucleus are present negatively charged subatomic particles named electrons.

Properties Of Proton

The properties of proton anode rays are very different from the properties of an electron and neutron. Protons are positively charged particles that are located inside the nucleus. They are represented with a p or p+ symbol.

The mass of a proton is 58.907516 oz (1.67×10−27 kg).

Whether present in a free state or inside any atom, the proton is believed to be very stable. They do not become decayed fast. Neutrons on the other hand decay fast, releasing beta particles.

The symbol of the proton is p+. The number of protons in a single atom of an element determines its atomic number. For instance, the atomic number of a sodium atom is 11 as the number of protons in its nucleus is 11. The other elements in the periodic table have their own unique atomic number.

Some studies suggest that protons are used in cancer treatment as they attack cancer cells and other particles that harm the body. Proton beam therapy has fewer side effects than X-ray therapy. This is the prime reason why protons are used in the treatment of target tumors.

They do not cause any short or long-term damage to the healthy surrounding tissue or organs.

The periodic table depicts atomic numbers.

Proton Vs Electron

There are several differences between protons and electrons.

Protons carry a positive charge and electrons are negatively charged particles. The positive charge of the proton balances the negative charge of an electron. This makes the charge of an atom neutral.

Protons are present inside the nucleus whereas electrons are present outside the nucleus. They circle the nucleus in orbits.

The symbol of an electron is e- and a proton is p+.

The mass of an electron is 320. 9930 oz (9.1×10−32 kg) and the mass of a proton is 58.907516 oz (1.67×10−27 kg).

Study Of Protons

A proton is the fundamental constituent of an atom.

The discovery of the proton corresponds to the investigation done about the atomic structure of an element. The atomic nucleus has protons (positively charged) and neutrons. Outside the atomic nucleus are electrons that are negatively charged.

In 1898 Wilhelm Wien discovered the proton in streams of ionized gases.

In 1919, British physicist, Rutherford, identified protons as the basic unit of positive electrical charge inside the nucleus of an atom. He instructed his German colleagues, nuclear physicist Hans Geiger and physicist Ernst Marsden, to conduct the famous gold foil experiment. The outcome of the experiment was that a gold atom has a nucleus with a positive charge. This positive electrical charge was known as protons.


What are two facts about a proton?

The mass of a proton is the same as the mass of a neutron however it is 1840x greater than the mass of the electron. The vibration of quarks determines the size of the proton.

The name proton is derived from the Greek word 'protos' which means first.

What are protons made of?

Protons are made up of quarks. It has one down and two up quarks.

Are neutrons and protons the same size?

The mass of a proton is slightly less than the mass of a neutron. The mass of a neutron is 1 atomic mass unit. An atomic mass unit (amu) is equal to 58.907516 oz (1.67×10−27 kg). The diameter of a neutron is also the same as the diameter of a proton.

What is the mass of a proton in g?

Protons have a mass of about 1.67 × 10−24g. Scientists refer to it as one atomic mass unit or one Dalton.

What is the meaning of proton?

Proton is a stable subatomic particle that is present inside the atomic nuclei. It has a positive charge that balances the negative charge of the electron.

It has the symbol p or p +. The mass of a proton is slightly less than the mass of a neutron.

Why do protons contribute to the atomic number?

The number of protons decides the atomic number of an element. It is shown by the symbol Z. This unique number distinguishes one element from the other. For instance, the atomic number of the helium atom is two and the hydrogen atom is one. So, helium atoms are different from hydrogen atoms due to the difference in the number of protons.

The number of protons in an atom is called the atomic number (z).

How does a proton differ from an electron?

A proton has a positive charge whereas an electron has a negative charge. Also, the mass of a proton is slightly more than the mass of the electron. Electrons revolve around the nucleus in orbital motion whereas, the protons sit inside the nucleus of an atom.

Is H+ a proton?

Yes, H+ is a proton. There is no neutron in the hydrogen nucleus. The hydrogen atom has one electron and one proton. The hydrogen nucleus is without a neutron.

Are protons positive?

Yes, protons are positively charged particles and electrons are negatively charged.

Who discovered the proton?

Ernest Rutherford discovered the proton in his very famous gold foil experiment. In this experiment, alpha particles were bombarded onto a very thin gold foil.

Where are protons located?

Protons are located inside the nucleus that is present inside the center of an atom.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

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Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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