Home Discussion Forum Why do the energies of eectrons in an atom have negative values?

Why do the energies of eectrons in an atom have negative values?


  1. Not quite sure what you’re asking here. Electrons have a negative charge. That’s why the energy is a negative value. Compared to protons which have a positive charge.
    If you’re asking why electrons have a negative charge, that is because of the quark combination that makes up electrons and probably more than you need to know to finish your homework 😉

  2. Because nature has a propensity to balance out everything. the protons are positive and so to balance the positive effect the electrons r made negative……… and when an atom looses an electron it becomes unstable and tries to pull an electron from another atom whereby moleculkes r formed…this becomes the base of all things in the universe and thus life originated……………..hahaha
    and electrons being negative is the reason i dont believe in god………. because if god 8is positive then to balance out there has to be an equal evil…..which doesnt make any sense………..so no god and no evil……… hahaha

  3. Don’t read too much into this. The simple truth is that there is no reason, this only convention. If you want to call protons negative charges and electrons positive charges, that will have absolutely no effect on the science, just as long as you’re consistent. Conventions like this one are set up to alleviate confusion in the community, but there is no greater, cosmic purpose.
    You will run into similar conventions when talking about the sign of electric current (defined as the flow of positive charge, which is counter-intuitive since the electron is conventionally negative and it is the electrons that actually move), the sign of energy differences/heat flow (positive if moving into the system from the surroundings), and several other physical quantities.

  4. The previous person is correct it is a convention, but the reason and significant of the convention is the following.
    It shows that the electrons in an atom are in a bound state. That is to say they are bound to the atom by the potential energy of the coulomb attraction of the negative electron and the positive nucleus. If the electron was a free electron,that was near the atom, then its total energy would be positive.
    So the energy of the electron is E=K+V, where K is the kinetic energy and V is the potential energy. So by convention we take the potential, V to be negative, so if the kinetic energy of the electron is greater than |V| then the electron can escape from the atom, and also E>0. But if |V|>K then E<0 and the atom is stuck in the potential well of the atom, and as such is bounded to the atom


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