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I Am Called A Proton

To be honest, physicists still don't understand me completely; I am extremely complex.

By Unravelling the UniversePublished 5 months ago 3 min read
I Am Called A Proton
Photo by David Ballew on Unsplash

British spelling

I have written this article in a way that is easy to understand. I hope you agree. Like myself, we are not all scientists or physicists with extensive knowledge on the subject.


I am a proton, would you like to know a little more about my role in the universe?

I existed at the beginning of the universe, or at the time of the Big Bang, as it's sometimes called. But that statement is not entirely true; the universe was less than a second old when protons first appeared.

I am a subatomic particle with a positive charge; you will find one or more like me in every atom that exists, but I can also be free and not be a part of any atom.

Three quarks make up my structure; they are the building blocks of protons and neutrons. Scientists believe that quarks cannot be broken down into smaller components, so you could say that they are the smallest particles in existence.

More detailed scientific facts about me can be left for physicists to explain!

About 380,000 years after the creation of the universe, the conditions were right for the first atoms to form; electrons could now be trapped in orbits around nuclei.

The nucleus is the name for the centre of an atom and is the position where protons and neutrons can be found.

I found myself at the centre of an atom with one electron whizzing around me; scientists have named it a hydrogen atom. I have been part of this atom for over 13.7 billion years.

13,800,000,000 years is the estimated age of the universe; nothing will last forever, but scientists have calculated that I, as a proton, will have a lifespan of roughly 1, followed by 34 zeros. Yes, that is a crazy number and a vast amount of time , too much for our minds to comprehend.

A hydrogen atom has only one proton in its nucleus and one electron spinning around it, which is why it is the lightest element of the 98 that occurs naturally in the universe.

A chemical element is a substance that cannot be broken down into other substances by chemical reactions.

An atom is the smallest part of a chemical element, but atoms with the same amount of protons in their nucleus can bunch together and form much bigger chemical element structures.

I, as a proton, may be extremely small, but I do weigh something.

All atoms have an atomic number, and the higher the number, the heavier they are.

As I said, a hydrogen atom has one proton in its nucleus and has the atomic number 1. The next heavier atom going up the periodic table is helium with two protons in its nucleus, therefore atomic number 2, and so on.

We are all familiar with jewellery made of gold and silver; we can feel their weight when we hold them. Silver has an atomic number of 47, and gold is heavier with an atomic number of 79.

The two protons in the nucleus of a helium atom have two companions called neutrons. and circling the nucleus are two electrons.

Atoms become increasingly heavier the more protons and neutrons they contain; neutrons have weight as well, but electrons are almost weightless.

By Ali Kokab on Unsplash

This is the reason we have party balloons filled with helium that float up through the air.

Although hydrogen is lighter is it not safe to use in balloons, mix hydrogen with air, and apply a spark, and the outcome will be explosive.

Most of the human body is made up of hydrogen and oxygen bonded as molecules of water, yes your body is made of atoms that are billions of years old.

The end.


You may find my easy-to-understand stories about the universe and life interesting and educational.

If you subscribe to me for free, you will see my latest stories. Regards.

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Comments (2)

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  • Colt Henderson4 months ago

    I, surprisingly, enjoyed this. It wasn't dull like my high school physics teacher! Thanks for refreshing my mind on this topic.

  • sleepy drafts5 months ago

    This is an incredibly cool read. You really broke down this complex topic and made it easy to digest. I am seriously looking forward to reading more from you. Thank you for writing this!!

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