I'm curious of which inconsistencies in observable phenomenons will there be if the model of strong nuclear force between protons in the nucleus will by changed by a model in which the proton's and the electron's electric charges in atoms neutralize each other? So for example the energy content of both the vanishing fields from protons and electrons have to go somewhere, maybe increasing the mass of the particles and emitting photons.


1 Answer 1


If I understand you correctly, you're proposing a straw-man model where

  1. there isn't a strong force that overcomes electric repulsion among protons inside the nucleus, but

  2. instead, the negative charge from the electron cloud somehow cancels out the proton repulsion, allowing the nucleus to stabilize.

I can immediately think of at least two issues with this. First, there'd be no reason for the proton cloud to have different radius than the electron cloud --- certainly not by five orders of magnitude as in real nuclei. (I suspect, but haven't researched, that this might have been the approach taken in the historical "plum pudding" model of the atom.)

Second, if the proton-proton interaction were somehow stabilized by the presence of electrons, that'd suggest that ionized nuclei should be unstable against proton emission. That's not the case. In fact there's a famous counterexample. Neutral beryllium-7 may decay to neutral lithium-7 plus an electron neutrino by electron capture, and does so on Earth with a lifetime of a month or two. However it's a low-energy decay --- so low-energy that the corresponding decay by positron emission is energetically forbidden. Bare beryllium-7 nuclei are therefore stable against weak decays and appear in the primary cosmic ray spectrum.

I'm sure there are other issues; those were just the first two that came to mind.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for mentioning a straw-man model :-). About the different mass and cloud volume I think that this is the condition for the stability of our surrounding. Having a full symmetry like in electron-positron interaction this lead due to full symmetry in their structure (except their charges) to annihilation. Only the different inner structure and by this unsymmetricy of electron and proton stops the EM radiation during approach. BTW, the different masses and volumes are not explained in all theories. Could you be more detailed in your second issue, please. I don't get it. $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2017 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ If your model has the electrons holding together the nucleus, removing electrons from the neutral atom should make the nucleus unstable. I'm not 100% sure I understood your proposal, though, which is why I tried to be explicit about the model I was using in my answer. $\endgroup$
    – rob
    Jan 4, 2017 at 22:46

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