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Proton Definition

A proton is a positively charged particle in an atom's nucleus. For example, a hydrogen atom has one proton in its nucleus.

View Lesson on Atoms & Molecules
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Atoms & Molecules

Fun Facts

  • Protons are positively charged and located in the center of an atom.
  • Carbon has 6 protons, 6 electrons, and 6 neutrons.
  • The atomic number on the Periodic Table indicates an element's number of protons.

Why Do We Need To Know About Proton

Learning about protons helps us understand matter. This is important for scientists who make new medicines or figure out how to fight diseases. For example, when they understand what is inside an atom, they can make molecules that our bodies can use to heal.

By studying how our bodies work at the atomic level, scientists can understand how things like proteins do their job. Proteins make your heart beat, give your hair its color and more. This knowledge is also behind making insulin proteins for people with diabetes. So, understanding the definition of a proton is really important for keeping us healthy and understanding how life works.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would you see if you looked at iron filings with a Scanning Tunneling Microscope?
Since the Scanning Tunneling Microscope is so powerful, you would see tiny spheres which are iron atoms (the smallest possible unit of iron).
Describe the different particles that make up an atom.
An atom is made up of 3 particles; protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons are positively charged and are positioned in the center of an atom. Neutrons are not charged and are also located in the center of an atom. Electrons orbit the center very quickly and are negatively charged.
What are some examples of elements? How do you know they are elements?
Some examples of elements are gold, iron, copper and carbon. Anything on the periodic table is an element. All elements are pure substance made up of only one type of atom.
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