Goebel, Charles J. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Schlachter, Alfred S. Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley Hills, California.
Last reviewed:June 2020
- Electrons and matter
- Magnetic moment
- Other leptons
- Other information
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The negatively charged constituent of ordinary matter, responsible for the chemical properties of matter, and the carrier of electricity. The electron is the lightest known particle that possesses an electric charge. Its rest mass me is 9.1 × 10−31 kg (2.0 × 10−30 lb), about 1/1836 of the mass of the proton or neutron, which are, respectively, the positively charged and neutral constituents of ordinary matter. The rest mass of an electron can also be expressed as 0.511 MeV/c2, where c is the speed of light. Electrons were discovered in 1895 by J. J. Thomson in the form of cathode rays. The electron was the first elementary particle to be identified. See also: Atomic structure and spectra; Cathode rays; Electric charge; Electronvolt; Elementary particle; Nuclear structure
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