Hypothetical conceptions of ultraatomic particles or corpuscles, carrying a negative charge of electricity, this charge being the smallest known it being further supposed that every quantity of electricity is a multiple of this elementary charge, and that these electrons arencomparably smaller than atoms. The mass of the electron is said to be 1,830 times smaller than the atom of hydrogen, which is the lightest known; but from a chemical point of view, electrons must be constituent parts of atomic matter. The number of electrons in an atom is stated to be approximately half its atomic weight. The term is used more generally to characterize the extremely minute particles shot off in electric discharges in gases, as well as the emissions from helium, argon, and other radioactive substances.
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