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For the study of electric circuits, it seems like it would have made more sense to establish that electrons carry a positive charge, and protons a negative one. That way, arrows representing current would actually represent the flow of electrons. I've never come across a reason to support the convention in place today. So, besides the hassle of changing this universal agreement, is there a reason in favour of the one in place ?

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marked as duplicate by Emilio Pisanty, John Rennie, Qmechanic May 19 '17 at 17:07

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    $\begingroup$ It's the enormous hassle of changing it. You can build a consistent system with the numeric value of the charges switched. See XKCD $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 19 '17 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ No, it's all historical convention. Say a big "thank you" to Ben Franklin, who guessed the direction of charge exchange incorrectly. And, yes, it's too big a hassle to change now. Consider the difficulty of switching the US and Britain to metric measurements. $\endgroup$ – Bill N May 19 '17 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ The difficulty if switching from Imperial to Metric is (from experience) wildly over-exaggerated. Changing sign conventions for charges would, by comparison, be a minefield given the amassed scientific and engineering documentation that would be rendered confusing as blazes for no practical gain. $\endgroup$ – StephenG May 19 '17 at 15:38
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