2nd October 2019

bbc
15

What is the shape of the electron?

Electron particle's shape revealed. The most accurate measurement yet of the shape of the electron has shown it to be almost perfectly spherical. Electrons are negatively-charged elementary particles which orbit the nuclei of atoms.

Why do we say an atom is spherical?

The shape of the atom depends on several factors, including the angular momentum of electrons and the electrostatic forces between atomic particles. It is not true that all atoms exhibit spherical shape; only the simplest of the atoms have that shape. Heavy atoms have more complex shapes.

What is the overall shape of the nucleus?

The deduced shape of the Radium-224 nucleus is that of a pear. This is news to scientists; while pear-shaped nuclei had been predicted by mathematical models, no one had ever directly observed one before. All previously measured atomic nuclei had been either spherical or had the rugby ball-like ellipsoidal shape.
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