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General Science

The Atom

Every atom has a center, or nucleus, containing subatomic particles called protons and (except for the element hydrogen) neutrons. Electrons orbit around the nucleus. Protons have a positive electrical charge. Electrons have a negative charge. The neutron has no charge at all but adds weight to the atom. Each atom making up the same element has the same number of protons and electrons. While most of an atom is occupied by empty space, it behaves like a solid because the electrons fly around the center at such high speeds that they repel anything that bumps against the electron shell. Atoms often join together with those of the same or different elements to form molecules and compounds.






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