Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 decade ago

Why does electron have a negative charge?

Everyone knows that electron have negative charge. But why? Please help me here, I am on dead end.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Electron does not have negative charge. We just know that there are two types of charges in nature. Opposite charges attract and like charges repel. We arbitrarily assume electron to have a charge called "negative". It would have been as well if we would have called charge on electron as "A" and charge on proton as "B". So its just an assumed name.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Electron Negative Charge

  • 1 decade ago

    The reason electrons have negative charges is because when the universe commenced, things just happened that way. Then man discovered them and described that charge by calling it negative.

    To know why electrons came about, you'd have to know where the universe came from or how it started. I don't think anyone has figured that out yet (lots of theories though).

    As the answerer above states, your question is more philisophical than scientific.

    p.s. if you figure it out, I'm sure a lot of people would be very interested in your results.

    Source(s): education
  • 1 decade ago

    Don't worry, physicists are at a dead end here as well. Charge is simply a property that some things have, just like mass, only different. Physicists don't try to explain WHY things are the way they are (they leave that to philosophers), they simply explain WHAT exists.

    We observe certain particles that behave strangely near other particles. If two electrons get near each other, they repel and move away from each other. What is causing this? There must be some property of an electron that makes it exert a force on other electrons. Later we observe that an electron is attracted to a proton, and that protons repeal each other.

    So, we reason, there must be some property that the electrons and protons have in common, yet with some slight difference to distinguish them. We arbitrarily assign the word "charge" to represent the property these particles have. The simplest explanation of the behavior of the electrons and protons is simply to assign one of them (we arbitrarily choose the proton) a positive charge, and the other (the electron) a negative charge. We then state the rules that fit our observations:

    Like charges repel.

    Opposite charges attract.

    This sequence of events wasn't exactly historically accurate, but it captures the spirit of things.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't remember going over the reason WHY electrons have a negative charge in my Physics class. I'd imagine it has to do with keeping the balance within an atom. Otherwise, nothing would exist. Lemme know what you find out in class. I'm curious.

  • 1 decade ago

    We call one as left hand and the other as right hand.

    Charges are of two kinds.

    To distinguish them we call one as positive and the other as negative.

    Electrons do have the type of charges which when tested belongs to the negative type.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    Why does electron have a negative charge?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Some guy had to choose which battery terminal would get a "+" and which would get a "-". No one had no idea which way the current actually flowed thru the wire, so he flipped a coin, and the "-" got stuck on the terminal where the electrons come out.

    Here's an even funnier story. I think it was Edison who decided that current flows when the switch is closed instead of open. He reasoned that his simple circuit loop diagram looked like a fence with a gate. Current flows when he closes the gate. What an idiot! Any fool knows that a switch is analogous to a valve. Water flows thru the hose when you open the valve, not when you close it.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    An electron simply carries the charge.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    George, I have a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford in elementary particle physics. Your question is more profound than some of the answers here indicate: you cannot solve scientific problems with warmed-over medieval philosophy about substance versus characteristics! The current theory is that the electric charge of electrons and other charged particles reflects what is known as a local gauge symmetry: basically, you can rotate the complex numbers that represent various particles/fields in different ways at different places in space (and at different times). This produces a variable “angle” that is different at different points in spacetime. To compensate for this varying “angle” you need an additional field known as a “gauge field.” (If “gauge” reminds you of railroad track widths or something on your auto dashboard, it should. The original form of this theory, early in the twentieth century, involved not the varying of these complex “angles,” but actually varying the standard of lengths in different places. The original theory did not work out and was replaced with this varying-angle theory.) The gauge field for this varying complex “angle” that I have described is what produces the electric (and the magnetic) field. The “charge” of the electron is simply a measure of how much the “angle” representing the electron changes when you vary the angles of other particles/fields. Why do we physicists often talk as if the charge is passed from the electron to other particles? Well, for this angle-varying scheme to work perfectly (an unbroken symmetry, as we say), if the electron is destroyed, some other particle must, so to speak, take up the slack of the angle variation. (If that sounds sloppy, it is: you really need to go into the math to make this clear.) So… is the electric charge a characteristic of the electron, a thing in itself, or a reflection of the ability to change these complex angles in different ways at different places. Yes, yes, and yes – these all turn out to be equivalent ways of saying in English what is expressed in the math. So… do we physicists have this thing all wrapped up and all you have to do is take a few physics courses and it will become crystal clear? Well.. . maybe. I hope I have presented the idea that it is by going back and forth between questions such as yours and complicated issues in mathematics that physicists have often made progress. For various reasons, and even though this theory has been tested experimentally to higher precision than almost any other theory in science, we actually doubt that the theory I have described (known as quantum electrodynamics or QED) is actually the last word on all this, even when it is combined with other more complicated gauge theories in what is known nowadays as the "Standard Model” in elementary particle physics. Superstring theory is knocking around as one proposal to expand upon or replace gauge theories. And, perhaps, there is something no one has really thought through yet in quite the right way. For example, I have always liked the idea that an electron is a little black hole and the charge is simply a reflection of the electric field lines being trapped as they thread through the black hole. Needless to say, I’ve never been able to get that idea to quite work out mathematically, but maybe someone will do it someday. Anyway, there is a lot to get into if you want to pursue this in more detail: besides the topics I have already mentioned, you can try looking into the “Aharonov-Bohm effect,” a very strange effect from the gauge field that is one of the clearest proofs that these gauge fields are real. And don’t let people trick you into accepting simple but superficial answers to real questions. Einstein figured out relativity because he was puzzled by what it was like to ride on a light wave. Most people would have dismissed that as a stupid question: nobody can ride on a light wave! (And, Einstein later proved that indeed no one can.) But by puzzling over that question, Einstein transformed our understanding of space and time. Dave Miller in Sacramento

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