Browse Definitions:
Definition

proton

A proton is a subatomic particle found in the nucleus of every atom.  The particle has a positive electrical charge, equal and opposite to that of the electron. If isolated, a single proton would have a mass of only 1.673 ? 10-27 kilogram, just slightly less than the mass of a neutron.

The number of protons in an element's nucleus is called the atomic number.  This number gives each element its unique identity.  In the atoms of any particular element, the number of protons in the nuclei is always the same.  An atom of simple hydrogen has a nucleus consisting of a single proton all by itself.  The nuclei of all other elements nearly always contain neutrons in addition to protons.

Protons need not be confined to the nuclei of atoms.  When protons are found outside atomic nuclei, they acquire fascinating, bizarre, and potentially dangerous properties, similar to those of neutrons in similar circumstances.  But protons have an additional property. Because they carry an electric charge, they can be accelerated by electric and/or magnetic fields.  High-speed protons, and atomic nuclei containing them, are emitted in large numbers during solar flares.  The particles are accelerated by the earth's magnetic field, causing ionospheric disturbances known as geomagnetic storms.

This was last updated in May 2008

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

That is so great, it's very helpful in my true life, and I love your answer for science, great job!
Cancel
Thank you!
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • incident management plan (IMP)

    An incident management plan (IMP), sometimes called an incident response plan or emergency management plan, is a document that ...

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical ...

  • hard disk

    A hard disk is part of a unit -- often called a disk drive, hard drive or hard disk drive -- that stores and provides relatively ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close