Why are atoms neutral despite having charged particles?


Atoms have equal numbers of electrons and protons, They subatomic particles have equal, but opposite, charges. (they balance out)

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Particle physics

Particle physics is a branch of physics which studies the nature of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter and radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics. Although the word "particle" can be used in reference to many objects (e.g. a proton, a gas particle, or even household dust), the term "particle physics" usually refers to the study of the fundamental objects of the universe – fields that must be defined in order to explain the observed particles, and that cannot be defined by a combination of other fundamental fields. The current set of fundamental fields and their dynamics are summarized in a theory called the Standard Model, therefore particle physics is largely the study of the Standard Model's particle content and its possible extensions.

Electron Leptons
Subatomic particle

In the physical sciences, subatomic particles are the particles smaller than an atom. (although some subatomic particles have mass greater than some atoms). There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which according to current theories are not made of other particles; and composite particles. Particle physics and nuclear physics study these particles and how they interact.

The elementary particles of the Standard Model include:

Proton Ion Atom
Electric charge

Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when close to other electrically charged matter. There are two types of electric charges – positive and negative. Positively charged substances are repelled from other positively charged substances, but attracted to negatively charged substances; negatively charged substances are repelled from negative and attracted to positive. An object will be negatively charged if it has an excess of electrons, and will otherwise be positively charged or uncharged. The SI derived unit of electric charge is the coulomb (C), although in electrical engineering it is also common to use the ampere-hour (Ah), and in chemistry it is common to use the elementary charge (e) as a unit. The symbol Q is often used to denote a charge. The study of how charged substances interact is classical electrodynamics, which is accurate insofar as quantum effects can be ignored.

The electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interaction. Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and produces, electromagnetic fields. The interaction between a moving charge and an electromagnetic field is the source of the electromagnetic force, which is one of the four fundamental forces (See also: magnetic field).

Atomic theory

In chemistry and physics, atomic theory is a scientific theory of the nature of matter, which states that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms, as opposed to the earlier]citation needed[ concept which held that matter could be divided into any arbitrarily small quantity. It began as a philosophical concept in ancient Greece (Democritus) and entered the scientific mainstream in the early 19th century when discoveries in the field of chemistry showed that matter did indeed behave as if it were made up of particles.

The word "atom" (from the ancient Greek adjective atomos, 'indivisible'. 19th century chemists began using the term in connection with the growing number of irreducible chemical elements. While seemingly apropos, around the turn of the 20th century, through various experiments with electromagnetism and radioactivity, physicists discovered that the so-called "indivisible atom" was actually a conglomerate of various subatomic particles (chiefly, electrons, protons and neutrons) which can exist separately from each other. In fact, in certain extreme environments, such as neutron stars, extreme temperature and pressure prevents atoms from existing at all. Since atoms were found to be divisible, physicists later invented the term "elementary particles" to describe the 'indivisible', though not indestructible, parts of an atom. The field of science which studies subatomic particles is particle physics, and it is in this field that physicists hope to discover the true fundamental nature of matter.

Physics Spintronics
Charge carriers

In physics, a charge carrier is a particle free to move, carrying an electric charge, especially the particles that carry electric charges in electrical conductors. Examples are electrons, ions and holes. In a conducting medium, an electric field can exert force on these free particles, causing a net motion of the particles through the medium; this is what constitutes an electric current. In different conducting media, different particles serve to carry charge:

It can be seen that in some conductors, such as ionic solutions and plasmas, there are both positive and negative charge carriers, so an electric current in them consists of the two polarities of carrier moving in opposite directions. In other conductors, such as metals, there are only charge carriers of one polarity, so an electric current in them just consists of charge carriers moving in one direction.

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