Excerpt from "l'univers des particules" Michel Crozon.The electron is rather a kind of electric weighing point, which no one knows where it is not, nor where it goes. It turns on itself like a top without being able to stop and he introduced some form of collusion very discreet (weak interaction) with most other particles. It belongs to the family of leptons where it occupies pride of place. In the quantum world, this means that when a force acts on it, it meets an object without extended, a special, not a ball that would have a certain volume. If you want to predict where to find, even with the most accurate calculations, you can get information rather vague like "this electron is somewhere there in an area of some 10-10 meters and it goes to almost up to tens of thousands of kilometers per second."
And if you want to be more specific about its position, you may need to be even more vague about its direction and speed and vice versa. It is one of the paradoxes of quantum mechanics: you do not get out of this dilemma even with the best instruments, the most accurate equations and the biggest computers in the world, because in reality the electron has no precise location. It remains in a sort of vague, both just a little here and there, to the point where, for example, through a bristol drilled two holes closer, no one can say what hole it is past, or even whether it was passed by a single hole. However, if during his wanderings it sometimes jostling another electron, it happens in a particular place, for example on a photographic grain will be impressed: it leaves a small black spot, very small and is can accurately measure the position. But after this, it set sail again on its wave uncertain, in a direction that nobody can predict.
That is the way of all known particles, electrons, protons and neutrons...
This kind of vagueness has left long puzzled researchers: they were used to concrete and precise quantities as the directions of stars or paths of the planets.
Great characters of science, Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie and others have long struggled to find a way to assimilate to the "material" they described in their usual and equations that looked more or less to tiny cannonballs.
They had to admit the unthinkable: particulate matter, despite the misleading word we use to describe them, are never far traceable. They are simply there, in an area roughly defined within an area bounded by the forces acting on them, forces that trap and lead to their will. A physicist Werner Heisenberg discovered relations uncertainties, small mathematical inequalities that combine the vagueness of their positions and their speeds, and reflect, in mathematical form, this sense of vagueness. It introduces the unexpected at the heart of the matter. It even offers to the electron an opportunity to make some sort of exploits, as barriers to cross seemingly impassable due to the fact that it happens to be both on both sides of the fence!
This fundamental uncertainty reflected in the fact that a particle, in the equations, is not associated with a material to specific coordinates, as was the case in classical mechanics.
It is inconceivable to our brain as it happens in a space of 10-10 feet, filled the vacuum. The electron remains attached to the nucleus inside the atom, and allows atoms to form molecules.
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Image: The dimensions which are dealing particle physicists. Is the electromagnetic force that binds the electrons inside the nucleus of the atom. It allows atoms to form molecules. It is causing properties of solids, liquids and gases. This force is felt by the quarks and charged leptons. It is carried by photons.
This represents is a wave, i.e. a size calculated at various points of space and whose evolution over time is also calculated. In short, all particles are calculations of probability, not positions and speeds calculated exactly.
The electron is one of the lighter particles (10-27 grams) at least among those called fermions, the ones that really take place. The electron is holding an electric charge, to which it owes its name (1.6 * 10-19 coulomb) is the elementary electric charge, this charge remains at a distance other electrons when it misses a proton, some 1,800 times heavier, the electron is attracted and it is making almost all the way.
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They are found clinging to one another, the proton center almost immobile, the electron to spread a little chaotic around him. Curiously, this electric force, the attraction between them, does not really stick together. It only forced the electron to stay in one territory, a kind of quantum small box but much larger than the proton. Their two electric charges offset if exactly that, seen from afar, their association does not seem to carry electric charge at all and this set is a neutral atom, the simplest of all; the hydrogen atom.