To round out the basic atomic particles, the electron is a subatomic particle with a unitary negative electric charge, equal to the charge of a proton but with an opposite sign. Electrons are fermions due to their half-integer spin, as well as leptons, and have an extremely small mass - approximately 1/1836 that of the proton. Since an electron is a fermion, no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state - in accordance with the Pauli Exclusion Principle.
The antiparticle of the electron is called the positron. As with any particle-antiparticle pair, when the two collide they annihilate each other and produce gamma ray photons. Electrons participate in the gravitational, electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces. The weird principle of wave-particle duality in quantum mechanics can be best demonstrated through experiments using electrons.
The concept of an indivisible quantity of electric charge was theorized in 1838 by British natural philosopher Richard Laming. The electron was introduced in 1894 by physicist George Johnstone Stoney, and was first identified as a particle three years later 1897 by J.J. Thomson and his team of physicists.
Electrons, together with atomic nuclei made of protons and neutrons, make up atoms. However, electrons contribute less than 0.06% of an atom’s total mass. The attraction between the opposite charges of the proton and electron due to the Compton effect is what holds atoms together.
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Hoorah for fermions! Does this mean since the electron fits in my hand, a plush proton should be the size of a king-sized mattress or so?